Quorum sensing - a promising tool for degradation of industrial waste containing persistent organic pollutants

Sonam Tripathi, Ram Chandra, Diane Purchase, Muhammad Bilal, Raja Mythili, Sangeeta Yadav

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Restoring an environment contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is highly challenging. Biodegradation by biofilm-forming bacteria through quorum sensing (QS) is a promising treatment process to remove these pollutants and promotes eco-restoration. QS plays an important role in biofilm formation, solubilization, and biotransformation of pollutants. QS is a density-based communication between microbial cells via signalling molecules, which coordinates specific characters and helps bacteria to acclimatize against stress conditions. Genetic diversification of a biofilm offers excellent opportunities for horizontal gene transfer, improves resistance against stress, and provides a suitable environment for the metabolism of POPs. To develop this technology in industrial scale, it is important to understand the fundamentals and ubiquitous nature of QS bacteria and appreciate the role of QS in the degradation of POPs. Currently, there are knowledge gaps regarding the environmental niche, abundance, and population of QS bacteria in wastewater treatment systems. This review aims to present up-to-date and state-of-the-art information on the roles of QS and QS-mediated strategies in industrial waste treatment including biological treatments (such as activated sludge), highlighting their potentials using examples from the pulp and paper mill industry, hydrocarbon remediation and phytoremediation. The information will help to provide a throughout understanding of the potential of QS to degrade POPs and advance the use of this technology. Current knowledge of QS strategies is limited to laboratory studies, full-scale applications remain challenging and more research is need to explore QS gene expression and test in full-scale reactors for wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118342
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Phytoremediation
  • Quorum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology


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