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J Hazard Mater. 2010 Dec 15;184(1-3):105-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.08.011. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Biodegradation of partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide by bacteria isolated from production water after polymer flooding in an oil field.

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Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, PR China.


Partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) in production water after polymer flooding in oil filed causes environmental problems, such as increases the difficulty in oil-water separation, degrades naturally to produce toxic acrylamide and endanger local ecosystem. Biodegradation of HPAM may be an efficient way to solve these problems. The biodegradability of HPAM in an aerobic environment was studied. Two HPAM-degrading bacterial strains, named PM-2 and PM-3, were isolated from the produced water of polymer flooding. They were subsequently identified as Bacillus cereus and Bacillus sp., respectively. The utilization of HPAM by the two strains was explored. The amide group of HPAM could serve as a nitrogen source for the two microorganisms, the carbon backbone of these polymers could be partly utilized by microorganisms. The HPAM samples before and after bacterial biodegradation were analyzed by the infrared spectrum, high performance liquid chromatography and scanning electronic microscope. The results indicated that the amide group of HPAM in the biodegradation products had been converted to a carboxyl group, and no acrylamide monomer was found. The HPAM carbon backbone was metabolized by the bacteria during the course of its growth. Further more, the hypothesis about the biodegradation of HPAM in aerobic bacterial culture is proposed.

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