Biodegradation of naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid present in tannery wastewater by bacterial isolates Arthrobacter sp. 2AC and Comamonas sp. 4BC

Zhi Song, Suzanne R Edwards, Richard G Burns
Biodegradation 2005, 16 (3): 237-52
Two bacterial strains, 2AC and 4BC, both capable of utilizing naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid (2-NSA) as a sole source of carbon, were isolated from activated sludges previously exposed to tannery wastewater. Enrichments were carried out in mineral salt medium (MSM) with 2-NSA as the sole carbon source. 16S rDNA sequencing analysis indicated that 2AC is an Arthrobacter sp. and 4BC is a Comamonas sp. Within 33 h, both isolates degraded 100% of 2-NSA in MSM and also 2-NSA in non-sterile tannery wastewater. The yield coefficient was 0.33 g biomass dry weight per gram of 2-NSA. A conceptual model, which describes the aerobic transformation of organic matter, was used for interpreting the biodegradation kinetics of 2-NSA. The half-lives for 2-NSA, at initial concentrations of 100 and 500 mg/l in MSM, ranged from 20 h (2AC) to 26 h (4BC) with lag-phases of 8 h (2AC) and 12 h (4BC). The carbon balance indicates that 75-90% of the initial TOC (total organic carbon) was mineralized, 5-20% remained as DOC (dissolved organic carbon) and 3-10% was biomass carbon. The principal metabolite of 2-NSA biodegradation (in both MSM and tannery wastewater) produced by Comamonas sp. 4BC had a MW of 174 and accounted for the residual DOC (7.0-19.0% of the initial TOC and 66% of the remaining TOC). Three to ten percent of the initial TOC (33% of the remaining TOC) was associated with biomass. The metabolite was not detected when Arthrobacter sp. 2AC was used, and a lower residual DOC and biomass carbon were recorded. This suggests that the two strains may use different catabolic pathways for 2-NSA degradation. The rapid biodegradation of 2-NSA (100 mg/l) added to non-sterile tannery wastewater (total 2-NSA, 105 mg/l) when inoculated with either Arthrobacter 2AC or Comamonas 4BC showed that both strains were able to compete with the indigenous microorganisms and degrade 2-NSA even in the presence of alternate carbon sources (DOC in tannery wastewater = 91 mg/l). The results provide information useful for the rational design of bioreactors for tannery wastewater treatment.

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