Use of silica-encapsulated Pseudomonas sp. strain NCIB 9816-4 in biodegradation of novel hydrocarbon ring structures found in hydraulic fracturing waters

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Abstract

The most problematic hydrocarbons in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wastewaters consist of fused, isolated, bridged, and spiro ring systems, and ring systems have been poorly studied with respect to biodegradation, prompting the testing here of six major ring structural subclasses using a well-characterized bacterium and a silica encapsulation system previously shown to enhance biodegradation. The direct biological oxygenation of spiro ring compounds was demonstrated here. These and other hydrocarbon ring compounds have previously been shown to be present in flow-back waters and waters produced from hydraulic fracturing operations. Pseudomonas sp. strain NCIB 9816-4, containing naphthalene dioxygenase, was selected for its broad substrate specificity, and it was demonstrated here to oxidize fundamental ring structures that are common in shale-derived waters but not previously investigated with this or related enzymes. Pseudomonas sp. NCIB 9816-4 was tested here in the presence of a silica encasement, a protocol that has previously been shown to protect bacteria against the extremes of salinity present in fracking wastewaters. These studies demonstrate the degradation of highly hydrophobic compounds by a silica-encapsulated model bacterium, demonstrate what it may not degrade, and contribute to knowledge of the full range of hydrocarbon ring compounds that can be oxidized using Pseudomonas sp. NCIB 9816-4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4968-4976
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume80
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

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