Competitive interference during the biodegradation of cresols

R. Surkatti, M. H. El-Naas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Phenol and its methylated derivatives, cresol isomers, are hazardous pollutants that are commonly present in various industrial effluents and known to have detrimental effect on aquatic life as well as human health, due to their toxic and carcinogenic nature. It is essential, therefore, to reduce the concentration of these contaminants in industrial effluent to acceptable levels prior to being discharged into the environment. Bacterial cells of the strain Pseudomonas putida, with excellent biodegradation capabilities and high tolerance of cresols, were extracted and immobilized in polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) gel for cresols biodegradation. The biodegradation was carried out at different operating conditions, in both batch and continuous modes, using a cylindrical spouted bed bioreactor. Factors affecting o-cresol and m-cresol degradation were studied in batch experiments, and the results showed that the immobilized bacteria could tolerate cresols concentration up to 200 mg/l. Moreover, the experiments indicated that the biodegradation rate was highly affected by the operating parameters such as pH and temperature, with optimum ranges of 6–8 for pH and 30–35 °C for temperature. However, the optimum conditions were different for each cresol isomer. The potential of P. putida in degrading binary and ternary mixtures of cresols was also examined in the continuous process and compared with single component biodegradation. The experimental results revealed that the biodegradation of o-cresol was highly inhibited by the presence of p-cresol and m-cresol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Inhibition
  • Pseudomonas putida
  • Ternary mixture
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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