Ecological fate, effects and prospects for the elimination of environmental polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932; Graduate Program in Ecology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Impact Factor: 2.62). 10/2009; 9(5):655 - 667. DOI: 10.1002/etc.5620090512

ABSTRACT Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) present an environmental health hazard of global scale and man-made origin. Their impact on nearly every member of the biota results in a wide range of interacting negative effects. Due to their chemical nature, these recalcitrant toxicants are poised to enter and bioaccumulate in the food web. Recent advances in biodegradation research and molecular biology have shown that natural microorganisms and genetically modified bacterial strains could be used to decontaminate PCB-containing sites. The aim of this review is to summarize the chemistry, environmental fate and toxicological effects of PCBs and to evaluate the currently available technologies for nondisruptive elimination of PCBs from the environment.

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    ABSTRACT: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) belong to the group of the most recalcitrant compounds with proved negative effect on the human health. They may be removed from the environment by chemical, physical and biological methods, while the latter ones through microorganisms or plants represent more economical way of removal. This study describes use of bacteria isolated in the Czech Republic from PCB contaminated sites. Several physiological characteristics of biodegradation and different ways of process improvement are documented. The utilization of microbial consortia of chlorobiphenyl and chlorobenzoate degrading bacteria is proposed. The beneficial effect of natural compounds of plant origin for the induction of PCB upper degradation pathway is also discussed. Depending on the chloride substitution, bacteria use different routes to complete their mineralisation. In this study, we have also investigated a possibility for the complementation of both ortho- and meta-cleavage pathway for chlorocatechols — intermediates of lower PCB metabolic pathway in one strain and its potential impact for degradation of chlorobenzoates, which are known to accumulate during degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Two lab-scale studies addressed to enhance the aerobic bioremediation of an aged PCB- contaminated soil (containing about 350 mg/kg of a variety of PCBs) through its amendment with defined PCB-bioavailability enhancing agents are reviewed. The aerobic bioremediation of the aged-contaminated soil employed was found to be significantly and differently influenced by the presence of Triton X-100 (TX-100), Quillaya Saponin (QS), Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) and γCyclodextrin (γCD) in the soil slurry-phase and fixed-phase aerobic reactors used in the experiment. Among the tested PCB-solubilizing agents, the biogenic products QS, γ-CD and in particular HP-β-CD were found to be very promising bioremediation stimulating agents.
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    ABSTRACT: Ability to utilize a technical mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), Delor 103, as the sole carbon source, has been tested in 14 bacterial strains. For the five best growing strains (Alcaligenes latus, Alcalgenes eutrophus, Comamonas testosteroni, Micrococcus varians and Pseudomonas putida), the dependence of the degradation of individual PCB congeners on the number of chlorine substituents is discussed.
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