Degradation of 2,4,6-tribromophenol by bacterial cells attached to chalk collected from a contaminated aquifer

A. Nejidat, I. Saadi, Z. Ronen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Scopus citations


    Aim: To investigate the factors governing the adhesion and activity of the 2,4,6-tribromophenol (TBP) degrading bacterium Achromobacter piechaudii TBPZ-N61 on chalk from a contaminated aquifer. Methods and Results: Adhesion kinetics of TBPZ-N61 to grey and white chalk from a polluted fractured chalk aquifer was tested in a batch system. Both grey and white chalk contain ca 80% CaCO3, while grey chalk contains more organic matter (2.4%) than the white chalk (0.3%) and also contains Dolmite and Clinoptilolite. Adhesion of the bacterial cells to the chalk particles (<0.2 mm) occurred rapidly (96% of the cells within 15 min). Langmuirfitted adhesion isotherms suggest that cells in the stationary phase, which are more hydrophobic, adhere to both grey and white chalk more efficiently than cells in the logarithmic growth phase. Increasing the pH (from 6.7 to 8.1) caused a significant reduction in cell adhesion to the chalk. Activity of attached cells was evaluated in both batch and column experiments. Logarithmic cells adhering to white and grey chalk were more active in TBP degradation than cells in suspension. In column experiments, significant TBP degradation was retained up to 30 days after a single injection of TBPZ cells. Thereafter, activity was fully recovered by amendment of yeast extract. Chalk surfaces that were incubated in situ in contaminated groundwater for 20 days still allowed the adhesion and activity of TBPZ cells. Conclusions: Taken together, our results show that bacteria adhere efficiently to specific sites on the chalk surfaces, and that sustained bacterial activity of the attached cells can be achieved by adding a carbon source such as yeast extract which also overcome toxic constituents that may occur in some chalk types. Significance and Impact of the Study: Bioremediation of TBP-contaminated chalk aquifers is made possible by the injection of bacterial cultures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)844-852
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 16 Apr 2004


    • Achromobacter
    • Adhesion
    • Fractured chalk
    • Hydrophobicity
    • Subsurface
    • Tribromophenol degradation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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