Anaerobic biodegradability of alkylphenols and fuel oxygenates in the presence of alternative electron acceptors

L. Puig-Grajales, N. G. Tan, F. Van Der Zee, E. Razo-Flores, J. A. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Alkylphenols and fuel oxygenates are important environmental pollutants produced by the petrochemical industry. A batch biodegradability test was conducted with selected ortho-substituted alkylphenols (2-cresol, 2,6-dimethylphenol and 2-ethylphenol), fuel oxygenates (methyl tert-butyl ether, ethyl tert-butyl ether and tert-amylmethyl ether) and tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) as model compounds. The ortho-substituted alkylphenols were not biodegraded after 100 days of incubation under methanogenic, sulfate-, or nitratereducing conditions. However, biodegradation of 2-cresol and 2-ethylphenol (150 mg l-1) was observed in the presence of Mn (IV) as electron acceptor. The biodegradation of these two compounds took place in less than 15 days and more than 90% removal was observed for both compounds. Mineralization was indicated since no UV-absorbing metabolites accumulated after 23 days of incubation. These alkylphenols were also slowly chemically oxidized by Mn (IV). No biodegradation of fuel oxygenates or TBA (1 g l-1) was observed after 80 or more days of incubation under methanogenic, Fe (III)-, or Mn (IV)-reducing conditions, suggesting that these compounds are recalcitrant under anaerobic conditions. The fuel oxygenates caused no toxicity towards acetoclastic methanogens activity in anaerobic granular sludge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-697
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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