Identification of a Ruminococcaceae Species as the Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Degrading Bacterium in a Methanogenic Consortium

Tong Liu, Hyeri Ahn, Weimin Sun, Lora R. McGuinness, Lee Kerkhof, Max Haggblom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The widespread use of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) has caused major contamination of groundwater sources and is a concern due to its taste and odor problems, as well as its toxicity. MTBE can be degraded anaerobically which makes bioremediation of contaminated aquifers a potential solution. Nevertheless, the organisms and mechanisms that are responsible for anaerobic MTBE degradation are still unknown. The aim of our research was to identify the organisms actively degrading MTBE. For this purpose we characterized an anaerobic methanogenic culture enriched with MTBE as the sole carbon source from the New Jersey Arthur Kill intertidal strait sediment. The cultures were analyzed using stable isotope probing (SIP) combined with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), high-throughput sequencing and clone library analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. The sequence data indicated that phylotypes belonging to the Ruminococcaceae in the Firmicutes were predominant in the methanogenic cultures. SIP experiments also showed sequential incorporation of the 13C labeled MTBE by the bacterial community with a bacterium most closely related to Saccharofermentans acetigenes identified as the bacterium active in O-demethylation of MTBE. Identification of the microorganisms responsible for the activity will help us better understand anaerobic MTBE degradation processes in the field and determine biomarkers for monitoring natural attenuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1455-1464
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2016

Fingerprint

MTBE
Bacteria
bacterium
Isotopes
stable isotope
Natural attenuation
Degradation
degradation
methyl tert-butyl ether
Bioremediation
natural attenuation
Odors
Biomarkers
Polymorphism
Aquifers
bioremediation
Microorganisms
odor
Toxicity
biomarker

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

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title = "Identification of a Ruminococcaceae Species as the Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Degrading Bacterium in a Methanogenic Consortium",
abstract = "The widespread use of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) has caused major contamination of groundwater sources and is a concern due to its taste and odor problems, as well as its toxicity. MTBE can be degraded anaerobically which makes bioremediation of contaminated aquifers a potential solution. Nevertheless, the organisms and mechanisms that are responsible for anaerobic MTBE degradation are still unknown. The aim of our research was to identify the organisms actively degrading MTBE. For this purpose we characterized an anaerobic methanogenic culture enriched with MTBE as the sole carbon source from the New Jersey Arthur Kill intertidal strait sediment. The cultures were analyzed using stable isotope probing (SIP) combined with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), high-throughput sequencing and clone library analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. The sequence data indicated that phylotypes belonging to the Ruminococcaceae in the Firmicutes were predominant in the methanogenic cultures. SIP experiments also showed sequential incorporation of the 13C labeled MTBE by the bacterial community with a bacterium most closely related to Saccharofermentans acetigenes identified as the bacterium active in O-demethylation of MTBE. Identification of the microorganisms responsible for the activity will help us better understand anaerobic MTBE degradation processes in the field and determine biomarkers for monitoring natural attenuation.",
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Identification of a Ruminococcaceae Species as the Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Degrading Bacterium in a Methanogenic Consortium. / Liu, Tong; Ahn, Hyeri; Sun, Weimin; McGuinness, Lora R.; Kerkhof, Lee; Haggblom, Max.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 50, No. 3, 02.02.2016, p. 1455-1464.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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