Molecular and kinetic characterization of mixed cultures degrading natural and synthetic estrogens

Mathieu Muller, Dominique Patureau, Jean-Jacques Godon, Jean-Philippe Delgenès, Guillermina Hernandez-Raquet
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2010, 85 (3): 691-701
The biodegradation of estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), and ethinylestradiol (EE2) was investigated using mixed bacterial cultures enriched from activated sludge. Enrichments were carried out on E2 or EE2 in batch conditions with acetonitrile as additional carbon source. Degradation experiments were performed both using hormones as sole carbon source or with an additional source. The hormones were completely degraded by these cultures. Estradiol was rapidly converted to E1 within 24 h. Thereafter, E1 degradation began, displaying a lag phase ranging from 3 to 4 days. Estrone depletion took from 48 h to more than 6 days, depending on the culture conditions. For EE2 degradation, when it was the sole carbon source, the lag phase and the time required for its complete removal (7 and 15 days, respectively) were shorter that in cultures with a supplementary carbon source. The specific degradation rates observed for E2 both with and without an additional carbon source were similar. By contrast, the specific degradation rates for E1 and EE2 were, respectively, seven and 20 times faster when these hormones were supplied as the sole carbon source. The bacterial community structure of each culture was characterized by molecular and cultural methods. The mixed cultures were made up of species belonging to Alcaligenes faecalis, Pusillimonas sp., Denitrobacter sp., and Brevundimonas diminuta or related to uncultured Bacteroidetes. The isolated strain B. diminuta achieved the conversion of E2 to E1.

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