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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Dec 1;41(23):8024-30.

Biotransformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol in soil and by soil bacteria isolates.

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Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, USA.


The microbial transformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) to perfluorocarboxylic acids, including the globally detected perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has recently been confirmed to occur in mixed bacteria cultures, activated sludge, and soil. However, little is known to date about the microbes involved in the transformation. In the present study, the effect of three carrier solvents (ethanol, octanol, and 1,4-dioxane), which may serve as carbon sources, on the aerobic degradation rate of 8:2 FTOH and metabolite distribution was evaluated both in a clay loam soil and in two pure soil bacterial cultures. Biodegradation pathways appeared similar regardless of the solvent; however, significant differences in 8:2 FTOH degradation rates were observed: 1,4-dioxane > ethanol > octanol. In the presence of 1,4-dioxane, which is not easily biodegraded, 8:2 FTOH degradation was the fastest With octanol, which is a structural analogue of 8:2 FTOH, the transformation was inhibited, but upon depletion of octanol, 8:2 FTOH was biodegraded. In the pure culture study, two soil bacterial strains, Pseudomonas species OCY4 and OCW4, enriched from soil using octanol as a sole carbon source, also transformed 8:2 FTOH without prior exposure or acclimation to 8:2 FTOH. Increased biomass resulting from octanol metabolism did increase 8:2 FTOH transformation rates; however, 8:2 FTOH could not support bacterial growth, indicating the transformation by pure cultures was via cometabolic processes.

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