Comparison of Indigenous and Selected Pentachlorophenol (PCP) Degrading Bacterial Consortiums for Remediation of PCP Contaminated Groundwater

Author(s): Joshi, V.; Prewitt, M.; Borazjani, H.; Willeford, K.

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a very toxic and recalcitrant compound which is commonly used in industrial and agricultural applications such as pesticides, leather tanning, pulp bleaching and wood preservatives. Its extensive use and improper disposal in the environment for more than sixty years has resulted in groundwater contamination, which is a very serious health and environmental issue. Previous studies have reported individual bacterial and fungal species that actively degrade the PCP. However in the environment there are many microorganisms present at sites of PCP contamination and few studies have focused on the microbial community involved in PCP degradation at these sites. Therefore the objective of this work is to compare PCP degradation by the indigenous bacterial community from PCP contaminated groundwater and customized groups of known PCP degrading bacteria. In this study, PCP contaminated groundwater samples will be collected from a former wood treatment site undergoing biosparging remediation. The experimental setup will include treatments of indigenous and known PCP degrading bacteria. Analyses for bacterial identification, gene expression and enzyme activity will be conducted during the degradation of PCP at different concentrations. Molecular identification will be carried out by cloning and sequencing of DNA extracted from these bacteria and real time PCR will be used for gene expression analysis of the PCP degrading genes: pcpB, pcpD, pcpC, pcpA and pcpE. Enzyme activity will be determined spectrophotometrically by monitoring substrate utilization over time. Statistical analysis of the data will be carried out by using the program SAS v. 9.2 to check the significant differences in PCP degradation by these bacterial consortiums. The results of this study should be beneficial for bioremediation of PCP in the environment.

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