Effect of different non-ionic surfactants on the biodegradation of PAHs by diverse aerobic bacteria
The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of several non-ionic surfactants (Tween-80, Triton X-100 and Tergitol NP-10) on the ability of different bacteria (Enterobacter sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Stenotrophomonas sp.) to degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Bacterial cultures were performed at 25ºC in an orbital shaker under dark conditions in BHB medium containing 1% of surfactant and 500 mg¿l-1 of each PAH. Experiments performed with Tween-80 showed the highest cell density values and maximum specific growth rate because this surfactant was used as a carbon source by all bacteria. High degree of PAHs degradation (>90%) was reached in 15 days in all experiments. Toxicity increased at early times using Tween-80 but decreased to low levels in a short time after the firsts 24 h. On the other hand, Triton X-100 and Tergitol NP-10 were not biodegraded and toxicity kept constant along time. However, PAHs degradation rate was higher, especially by the action of Enterobacter sp. with Tween-80 or Triton X-100, depending on the microorganism used. Control experiments performed without surfactant showed a significant decrease in biomass growth rate with a subsequent loss of biodegradation activity likely due to a reduced solubility and bioavailability of PAHs in absence of surfactant.
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