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Microb Ecol. 2004 Aug;48(2):246-53. Epub 2004 Jun 24.

Degradation of 4-chlorophenol at low temperature and during extreme temperature fluctuations by Arthrobacter chlorophenolicus A6.

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Section for Natural Sciences, Södertörn University College, Huddinge, Sweden.


Low average temperatures and temperature fluctuations in temperate soils challenge the efficacy of microbial strains used for clean up of pollutants. In this study, we investigated the cold tolerance of Arthrobacter chlorophenolicus A6, a microorganism previously shown to degrade high concentrations of 4-chlorophenol at 28 degrees C. Luciferase activity from a luc-tagged derivative of the strain (A6L) was used to monitor the metabolic status of the population during 4-chlorophenol degradation. The A6L strain could degrade 200-300 mug mL(-1) 4-chlorophenol in pure cultures incubated at 5 degrees C, although rates of degradation, growth and the metabolic status of the cells were lower at 5 degrees C compared to 28 degrees C. When subjected to temperature fluctuations between 5 and 28 degrees C, A6L continued to degrade 4-chlorophenol and remained active. In soil microcosm experiments, the degradation rates were significantly faster the first week at 28 degrees C, compared to 5 degrees C. However, this difference was no longer seen after 7 days, and equally low 4-chlorophenol concentrations were reached after 17 days at both temperatures. During 4-chlorophenol degradation in soil, CFU and luciferase activity values remained constant at both 5 and 28 degrees C. However, once most of the 4-chlorophenol was degraded, both values decreased by 1-1.5 logarithmic values at 28 degrees C, whereas they remained constant at 5 degrees C, indicating a high survival of the cells at low temperatures. Because of the ability of A. chlorophenolicus A6 to degrade high concentrations of 4-chlorophenol at 5 degrees C, together with its tolerance to temperature fluctuations and stress conditions found in soil, this strain is a promising candidate for bioaugmentation of chlorophenol-contaminated soil in temperate climates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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