Biotransformation and biodegradation of selected nitroaromatics under anaerobic conditions

Elías Razo-Flores, Gatze Lettinga, Jim A. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The fate of four nitroaromatic compounds (5-nitrosalicylate, 5NSA; 4-nitrobenzoate, 4NBc; 2,4-dinitrotoluene, 2,4DNT; nitrobenzene, NB) was studied in 160 mL laboratory-scale upward-flow anaerobic sludge bed reactors supplied with a mixture of volatile fatty acids and/or glucose as electron donors. All the nitroaromatics were transformed stoichiometrically to their corresponding aromatic amines. After prolonged reactor operation, 5NSA and 4NBc were completely mineralized to CH4 and CO2, whereas 2,4DNT was partially transformed to a nonidentified and nondegradable metabolite. Batch nitro-reduction experiments indicated that the position of the nitro group in relation to the other substituents in the aromatic ring plays a key role in the rate of the nitro-group reduction. The results obtained indicate that certain nitroaromatic compounds can be completely mineralized and serve as a carbon and energy source for anaerobic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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