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Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 108, 2021, Pages 134-144

Coupled biodegradation of p-nitrophenol and p-aminophenol in bioelectrochemical system: Mechanism and microbial functional diversity

Jianjun Luo, Yuxi Xu, Jing Wang, Libin Zhang, Xinbai Jiang, Jinyou Shen

Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of Environmental and Biological Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing 210094, China.


Biodegradation mechanisms and microbial functional diversity during coupled p-nitrophenol (PNP) and p-aminophenol (PAP) degradation were studied in a bioelectrochemical system. PNP in the biocathode and PAP in the bioanode were almost completely removed within 28hr and 68hr respectively. The degradation followed the steps including hydrating hydroxyalkylation, dehydrogenating carbonylation, and hydrolating ring cleavage, etc. Metagemomic analysis based on the KEGG and eggNOG database annotations revealed the microbial composition and functional genes/enzymes related to phenol degradation in the system. The predominant bacteria genera were Lautropia, Pandoraea, Thiobacillus, Ignavibacterium, Truepera and Hyphomicrobium. The recognized biodegradation genes/enzymes related to pollutant degradation were as follows: pmo, hbd, & ppo for phenol degradation, nzba, amie, & badh for aromatic degradation, and CYP & p450 for xenobiotics degradation, etc. The co-occurrence of ARGs (antibiotic resistant genes), such as adeF, MexJ, ErmF, PDC-93 and Escherichia_coli_mdfA, etc., were annotated in CARD database during the biodegradation process. The Proteobacteria & Actinobacteria phylum was the primary host of both the biodegradation genes & ARGs in this system. The microbial functional diversity ensured the effective biodegradation of the phenol pollutants in the bioelectrochemical system.

Keywords: Phenols biodegradation, Functional diversity, Functional gene, Metagenome.

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