Naphthalene biodegradation in a cadmium cocontaminated system: Effects of rhamnolipid, pH, and divalent cations
AuthorSandrin, Todd Ryan
AdvisorMaier, Raina M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractForty percent of hazardous waste sites on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priority List (NPL) are cocontaminated with organic and metal pollutants. Conventional approaches to remediating these sites are costly and often ineffective. Bioremediation is a promising, cost-effective alternative but metal toxicity at cocontaminated sites may limit its efficacy. The research described in this dissertation provides two new possible approaches to enhance the bioremediation of cocontaminated environments and sheds light on the relationship between metal concentration and inhibition of organic pollutant biodegradation. In Objective 1, a rhamnolipid biosurfactant was employed to increase naphthalene biodegradation in the presence of cadmium. The biosurfactant reduced bioavailable cadmium concentrations and increased naphthalene bioavailability. Neither of these phenomena, however, fully accounted for the ability of rhamnolipid to reduce cadmium toxicity. The ability of rhamnolipid to alter the cell surface appeared critical to its ability to mitigate toxicity. In Objective 2, pH was lowered to increase naphthalene biodegradation in the presence of cadmium. Reductions in pH had previously been reported to mitigate metal toxicity, but the mechanism of such reductions warranted elucidation. Previous studies implicated the formation of monovalent hydroxylated metal in the mechanism by which pH mediates toxicity. Results of this study, however, suggest that the importance of such species in determining toxicity may be much less than that of the increased competition between hydrogen and metal ions for binding sites on the cell surface at reduced pH. An indirect relationship between metal concentration and inhibition of organic biodegradation was revealed in Objective 3. Naphthalene biodegradation was more sensitive to cadmium concentrations of 10 and 37.5 mg/L than 100 mg/L. For this reason, we investigated whether naphthalene biodegradation could be increased in the presence of a toxic concentration of cadmium by raising the total metal concentration to a higher, but relatively less toxic concentration. Only elevated concentrations of zinc reduced cadmium toxicity. High but less toxic levels of metal may more rapidly induce the transcription of a gene(s) important in metal efflux than lower more toxic concentrations.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water and Environmental Science