Section 49
Chapter 48,872

Effect of chlorine substitution on the biodegradability of polychlorinated biphenyls

Furukawa, K.; Tonomura, K.; Kamibayashi, A.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 35(2): 223-227


ISSN/ISBN: 0099-2240
PMID: 16345265
Accession: 048871291

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Thirty-one isomers of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) were examined for biodegradability by two species of Alcaligenes and Acinetobacter. The following relationships between chlorine substitution and biodegradability of PCBs were observed. (i) Degradation decreased as chlorine substitution increased. PCB isomers containing more than four chlorines were less susceptible to degradation. (ii) PCBs containing two chlorines on either the ortho position of a single ring (i.e., 2,6-) or on both rings (i.e., 2,2'-) showed very poor degradability. (iii) PCBs containing all chlorine atoms on only a single ring were generally degraded faster than when the same number of chlorines were substituted on both rings. (iv) Preferential ring fission of the molecules occurred with nonchlorinated or lesser chlorinated rings. (v) The formation and accumulation of a yellow intermediate was always observed in 4'-chloro-substituted PCBs. (vi) Significant differences between the two organisms with respect to degradability were not observed except for 2,4,6-trichlorobiphenyl.

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