Journal of hazardous materials

Nano/bio treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls with evaluation of comparative toxicity.

PMID 25679799


The persistence of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Aroclor 1248 in soils and sediments is a major concern because of its toxicity and presence at high concentrations. In this study, we developed an integrated remediation system for PCBs using chemical catalysis and biodegradation. The dechlorination of Aroclor 1248 was achieved by treatment with bimetallic nanoparticles Pd/nFe under anoxic conditions. Among the 32 PCB congeners of Aroclor 1248 examined, our process dechlorinated 99%, 92%, 84%, and 28% of tri-, tetra-, penta-, and hexachlorinated biphenyls, respectively. The resulting biphenyl was biodegraded rapidly by Burkholderia xenovorans LB400. Benzoic acid was detected as an intermediate during the biodegradation process. The toxicity of the residual PCBs after nano-bio treatment was evaluated in terms of toxic equivalent values which decreased from 33.8×10(-5)μgg(-1) to 9.5×10(-5)μgg(-1). The residual PCBs also had low cytotoxicity toward Escherichia coli as demonstrated by lower reactive oxygen species levels, lower glutathione peroxidase activity, and a reduced number of dead bacteria.