Microbial community structure and dynamics in a membrane bioreactor supplemented with the flame retardant dibromoneopentyl glycol

Moran Zangi-Kotler, Eitan Ben-Dov, Andreas Tiehm, Ariel Kushmaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are a group of widely used compounds that, due to their limited biodegradability, exhibit excessive persistence in the environment. The persistence and high toxicity of these compounds to the natural biota causes great environmental concern. We investigated the biodegradation of the BFR dibromoneopentyl glycol (DBNPG) under continuous culture conditions using a miniature membrane bioreactor (mMBR) to assess its feasibility as a bioremediation approach. This system demonstrated long-term, stable biodegradation of DBNPG (>90 days), with an average removal rate of about 50 %. Pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene of the microorganisms involved in this process revealed the dominance of reads affiliated with the genus Brevundimonas of the Alphaproteobacteria class during the different mMBR operational stages. The bacterial community was also dominated by reads affiliated with the Sinorhizobium and Sphingopyxis genera within the Alphaproteobacteria class and the Sediminibacterium genus of the Sphingobacteria class. Real-time PCR used to analyze possible changes in the population dynamics of these four dominant groups revealed their consistent presence throughout the long-term mMBR biodegradation activity. Two genera, Brevundimonas and Sphingopyxis, were found to increase in abundance during the acclimation period and then remained relatively stable, forming the main parts of the consortium over the prolonged active stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17615-17624
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Biodegradation
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Population dynamics
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Real-time PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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