Benzene reactor liquid, biofilm sampling

  • J.M. van der Waals (Deltares) (Creator)
  • S. Atashgahi (Creator)
  • Ulisses Nunes da Rocha (Creator)
  • Bas M. van der Zaan (Creator)
  • Hauke Smidt (Creator)
  • Jan Gerritse (Creator)



Benzene is an aromatic compound and harmful for the environment. Biodegradation of benzene can reduce the toxicological risk after accidental or controlled release of this chemical in the environment. In this study, we further characterized an anaerobic continuous biofilm culture grown for more than 14 years on benzene with nitrate as electron acceptor. We determined the maximal degradation rates, microbial community composition dynamics in the biofilm and the initial anaerobic benzene degradation reactions. Benzene was degraded at a rate of 0.15 µ and a first order rate constant of 3.04 day-1 which was 4 times higher than reported previously. Bacteria belonging to the Peptococcaceae were found to play an important role in this anaerobic benzene-degrading biofilm culture, but also members of the Anaerolineaceae were predicted to be associated in benzene degradation or benzene metabolite degradation based on Illumina MiSeq analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA genes. Biomass retention in the reactor using a filtration finger resulted in reduction of benzene degradation capacity. Detection of the benzene carboxylase encoding gene, abcA, and benzoic acid in the culture vessel indicated that benzene degradation starts through an initial carboxylation step.
Date made available21 Mar 2017
PublisherWageningen University

Accession numbers

  • PRJEB18709
  • ERP020659

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