Insight into metabolic and cometabolic activities of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms in the biodegradation of emerging trace organic contaminants

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Journal Article
Bioresource Technology, 2013, 146 pp. 721 - 731
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Many efforts have been made to understand the biodegradation of emerging trace organic contaminants (EOCs) in the natural and engineered systems. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the biodegradation of EOCs while having in-depth discussion on metabolism and cometabolism of EOCs. Biodegradation of EOCs is mainly attributed to cometabolic activities of both heterotrophic and autotrophic microorganisms. Metabolism of EOCs can only be observed by heterotrophic microbes. Autotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia oxidizing archaeal (AOA) cometabolize a variety of EOCs via the non-specific enzymes, such as ammonia monooxygenase (AMO). Higher biodegradation of EOCs is often noted under nitrification at high ammonia loading rate. The presence of a growth substrate promotes cometabolic biodegradation of EOCs. Potential strategies for enhancing the biodegradation of EOCs were also proposed in this review. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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