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The Effect of Cyclic Aerobic–Anoxic Conditions on Biodegradation of Benzoate

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The response of a mixed microbial culture to cyclic aerobic and anoxic (denitrifying) conditions was studied in a chemostat with a 48-hour hydraulic residence time receiving a feed containing benzoate and pyruvate. When the cyclic conditions were 3-hour aerobic and 9-hour anoxic, the bacteria-degraded benzoate aerobically via the catechol 2,3-dioxygenase (C23DO) pathway. The quantity of C23DO remained constant throughout the anoxic period but decreased during the initial portion of the aerobic period before returning to the level present in the anoxic period. Anoxic biodegradation of benzoate was via benzoyl-CoA reductase, which remained constant regardless of the redox condition. The aerobic benzoate uptake capability (AeBUC) of the culture increased during the aerobic period but decreased during the anoxic period. The anoxic benzoate uptake capability (AnBUC) exhibited the opposite response. When the cycle was 6-hour aerobic and 6-hour anoxic, aerobic biodegradation of benzoate proceeded via the protocatechuate 4,5-dioxygenase (P45DO) pathway. The P45DO activity decreased early in the aerobic period, but then increased to the level present during the anoxic period. The level of benzoyl-CoA reductase was constant throughout the cycle. Furthermore, AeBUC and AnBUC responded in much the same way as in the 3/9-hour chemostat. During a 9-hour aerobic and 3-hour anoxic cycle, the culture synthesized both P45DO and C23DO, with the former having significantly higher activity. Unlike the other two cycles, AeBUC changed little during the aerobic period, although AnBUC decreased. The culture was well-adapted to the cyclic conditions as evidenced by the lack of accumulation of either substrate during any cycle tested. This suggests that cyclic aerobic–anoxic processes can be used in industrial wastewater-treatment facilities receiving significant quantities of simple aromatic compounds like benzoate. However, the results showed that the kinetics of benzoate degradation were different under aerobic and anoxic conditions, a situation that must be considered when modeling cyclic bioreactors receiving aromatic compounds.
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Keywords: benzoate; biodegradation; cyclic conditions; denitrification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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