Degradation of di-butyl-phthalate by soil bacteria

W. L. Chao, C. M. Lin, I. I. Shiung, Y. L. Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Twelve Gram-positive phthalate ester degraders were isolated from soil. Using Biolog GP2 plates, eight of them were identified as belonging to the Corynebacterium-Mycobacterium-Nocardia group, while the remaining four were unidentifiable. When cultured in the presence of di-butyl-phthalate (DBP) in basal salts solution, five of these isolates accomplished more than 90% of DBP degradation within 48 h (fast group), three were placed in the medium group, and the remaining four were placed in the slow group which caused less than 30% of DBP degradation within the same period of time. A 420 bp DNA fragment was amplified from six isolates and none of them fell within the slow group. When compared with the large subunit of phthalate dioxygenase gene (phtA) of Arthrobacter keyseri, 83% and 91% similarities were evident in the nucleotide and amino acid sequences, respectively. However, no correlation between cell surface hydrophobicity and phthalate degradation ability was evident. Six surfactants (Brij 30, Brij 35, Tergitoltype NP-10, Triton N-101, Triton X-100 and SDS) were tested for their abilities to increase degradation rate. When added at the critical micellar concentration (CMC), they all displayed strong growth inhibition against the three bacteria tested, with Brij 30 been the least toxic to isolates G2 and G11, and Brij 35 had the least inhibitory effect for G1. When half the CMC of Brij 30 was incorporated into the basal salts, the inhibitory effect on DBP degradation remained. Soil helped to minimize surfactant toxicity of surfactant and increase the degradation potential of some of the test bacteria. When DBP-amended soil had been aged for three months, decreases in bioavailability were observed but the effect varied tremendously between different organisms. For isolates G1, G2, G5, G7 and G17 the aging effects were almost non-exist. The present study indicates that selection of a suitable degrader may minimize the undesired effect of aging on bioremediation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1383
Number of pages7
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Aging
  • Biodegradation
  • Dioxygenase
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Phthalate
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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