Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon oxidation by the white-rot fungus Bjerkandera sp. strain BOS55 in the presence of nonionic surfactants

Michiel J.J. Kotterman, Henk Jan Rietberg, Annemarie Hage, Jim A. Field

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49 Scopus citations


The effect of nonionic surfactants on the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) oxidation rates by the extracellular ligninolytic enzyme system of the white-rot fungus Bjerkandera sp. strain BOS55 was investigated. Various surfactants increased the rate of anthracene, pyrene, and benzo[a]pyrene oxidation by two to fivefold. The stimulating effect of surfactants was found to be solely due to the increased bioavailability of PAH, indicating that the oxidation of PAH by the extracellular ligninolytic enzymes is limited by low compound bioavailability. The surfactants were shown to improve PAH dissolution rates by increasing their aqueous solubility and by decreasing the PAH precipitate particle size. The surfactant Tween 80 was mineralized by Bjerkandera sp. strain BOS55; as a result both the PAH solubilizing activity of Tween 80 and its stimulatory effect on anthracene and pyrene oxidation rates were lost within 24 h after addition to 6-day-old cultures. It was observed that the surfactant dispersed anthracene precipitates recrystallized into larger particles after Tween 80 was metabolized. However, benzo[a]pyrene precipitates remained dispersed, accounting for a prolonged enhancement of the benzo[a]pyrene oxidation rates. Because the endogenous production of H2O2 is also known to be rate limiting for PAH oxidation, the combined effect of adding surfactants and glucose oxidase was studied. The combined treatment resulted in anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene oxidation rates as high as 1450 and 450 mg L-1 d-1, respectively, by the extracellular fluid of 6-day-old fungal cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Bjerkandera sp.
  • PAH degradation
  • Surfactant
  • Toxicity
  • White rot fungus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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