Environmental toxicology

Degradation and detoxification of cresols in synthetic and industrial wastewater by an indigenous strain of Pseudomonas putida in aerobic reactors.

PMID 18293406


We studied the degradation of mixtures of o-cresol, m-cresol, and p-cresol, by Pseudomonas putida isolated from natural sources, and the application of this degradation to the depuration and detoxification of synthetic and industrial wastewater. Biodegradation assays were performed in batch and continuous-flow fixed-bed aerobic reactors. Biodegradation was evaluated by cresol determination using micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography, UV spectrophotometry, and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Mineralization of cresols was assessed by gas chromatography performed both at the end of the batch process and in the continuous flow reactor effluent. Microbial growth was measured by the plate count method. Scanning electronic microscopy was employed to observe bacterial cells adsorbed on polyvinyl chloride cylinders in the reactor. Detoxification was evaluated by Vibrio fischeri, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, and Daphnia magna toxicity tests. Results obtained show that under batch conditions the strain grew exponentially with 100, 200, and 300 mg/L of each of the isomers in synthetic minimal medium within 48 h; in industrial wastewater with 540 mg/L of cresols similar results were obtained. Removal of cresols and COD was higher than 99.9% and 95.0%, respectively. When assays were performed in continuous flow reactor in synthetic wastewater under operating conditions a removal of total cresols and COD of 99.9% and 96.4%, respectively, was achieved. Results of capillary electrophoresis may suggest a concurrent isomers utilization and simultaneous growth on the substrates. Toxicity was neither detected at the end of the batch process nor in the continuous flow reactor effluent.

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Cresol mixture of isomers, technical, crude, ~85% (sum of isomers, GC)