Biodegradability of fluorene and the versatility of fluorene metabolite (i.e. phenol) in fluorene biodegradation by a sulfate-reducing enrichment culture were investigated. Batch experiments (with 5mgl-1 fluorene) were designed via the central composite design to examine the effects of sulfate (5-35mM) and biomass (5-50mgl-1) concentrations (variables) on fluorene degradation (response). The experimental results revealed that fluorene removal was more influenced by the biomass concentration than the sulfate concentration. The optimal sulfate and biomass concentrations for fluorene biodegradation (90% removal) were found to be 14.4mM and 37.8mgl-1, respectively. Under the optimal conditions, a set of biodegradation experiments were repeated to evaluate both the biodegradability of fluorene metabolite and the potential effect of phenol accumulation on fluorene degradation. The outcomes indicated a slow phenol degradation rate, i.e. 0.02mgl-1d-1. Moreover, a small reduction in the fluorene biodegradation efficiency was observed in the presence and accumulation of phenol. However, this sulfate reducing culture is a valuable resource for the simultaneous degradation of fluorene and phenol.
- Central composite design
- Sulfate-reducing culture