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Arch Microbiol. 2000 May-Jun;173(5-6):398-402.

CO2-dependent fermentation of phenol to acetate, butyrate and benzoate by an anaerobic, pasteurised culture.

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Department of Water and Environmental Studies, University of Linköping, Sweden.


Fermentative degradation of phenol was studied using a non-methanogenic, pasteurised enrichment culture containing two morphologically different bacteria. Phenol was fermented to benzoate, acetate and butyrate and their relative occurrence depended on the concentration of hydrogen. Proportionately more benzoate was formed with high initial levels of H2. The influence of PH2 on the fermentation pattern was studied both in dense cell suspensions and in growing cultures by addition of hydrogen. An increase in growth yield (OD578) was observed, compared to controls, as a consequence of phenol degradation; however, the increase was less in H2-amended treatments, in which most of the phenol ended up as benzoate. The degradation of phenol in the dense cell suspension experiments was dependent on CO2. Benzoate was not degraded when added as a substrate to the growing culture. This is, to our knowledge, the first report concerning the fermentative degradation of phenol to nonaromatic products.

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