"Rational" Management of Dichlorophenols Biodegradation by the Microalga Scenedesmus obliquus

Title"Rational" Management of Dichlorophenols Biodegradation by the Microalga Scenedesmus obliquus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPapazi, A, Kotzabasis K
JournalPLoS ONE

The microalga Scenedesmus obliquus exhibited the ability to biodegrade dichlorophenols (dcps) under specific autotrophic and mixotrophic conditions. According to their biodegradability, the dichlorophenols used can be separated into three distinct groups. Group I (2,4-dcp and 2,6 dcp - no meta-substitution) consisted of quite easily degraded dichlorophenols, since both chloride substituents are in less energetically demanding positions. Group II (2,3-dcp, 2,5-dcp and 3,4-dcp - one meta-chloride) was less susceptible to biodegradation, since one of the two substituents, the meta one, required higher energy for C-Cl-bond cleavage. Group III (3,5-dcp - two meta-chlorides) could not be biodegraded, since both chlorides possessed the most energy demanding positions. In general, when the dcp-toxicity exceeded a certain threshold, the microalga increased the energy offered for biodegradation and decreased the energy invested for biomass production. As a result, the biodegradation per cell volume of group II (higher toxicity) was higher, than group I (lower toxicity) and the biodegradation of dichlorophenols (higher toxicity) was higher than the corresponding monochlorophenols (lower toxicity). The participation of the photosynthetic apparatus and the respiratory mechanism of microalga to biodegrade the group I and the group II, highlighted different bioenergetic strategies for optimal management of the balance between dcp-toxicity, dcp-biodegradability and culture growth. Additionally, we took into consideration the possibility that the intermediates of each dcp-biodegradation pathway could influence differently the whole biodegradation procedures. For this reason, we tested all possible combinations of phenolic intermediates to check cometabolic interactions. The present contribution bring out the possibility of microalgae to operate as "smart" bioenergetic "machines", that have the ability to continuously "calculate" the energy reserves and "use" the most energetically advantageous dcp-biodegradation strategy. We tried to manipulate the above fact, changing the energy reserves and as a result the chosen strategy, in order to take advantage of their abilities in detoxifying the environment. © 2013 Papazi, Kotzabasis.


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