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Anaerobic Degradation of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene Compounds by Dechloromonas Strain RCB

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Biodegradation


Dechloromonas strain RCB has been shown to be capable of anaerobic degradation of benzene coupled to nitrate reduction. As a continuation of these studies, the metabolic versatility and hydrocarbon biodegradative capability of this organism were investigated. The results of these revealed that in addition to nitrate, strain RCB could alternatively degrade benzene both aerobically and anaerobically with perchlorate or chlorate [(per)chlorate] as a suitable electron acceptor. Furthermore, with nitrate as the electron acceptor, strain RCB could also utilize toluene, ethylbenzene, and all three isomers of xylene (ortho-, meta-, and para-) as electron donors. While toluene and ethylbenzene were completely mineralized to CO2, strain RCB did not completely mineralize para-xylene but rather transformed it to some as-yet-unidentified metabolite. Interestingly, with nitrate as the electron acceptor, strain RCB degraded benzene and toluene concurrently when the hydrocarbons were added as a mixture and almost 92 μM total hydrocarbons were oxidized within 15 days. The results of these studies emphasize the unique metabolic versatility of this organism, highlighting its potential applicability to bioremediative technologies.

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