The potential of autochthonous microbial culture encapsulation in a confined environment for phenol biodegradation

Hassan Azaizeh, Eyal Kurzbaum, Ons Said, Husain Jaradat, Ofir Menashe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Olive mill wastewater (OMWW) is claimed to be one of the most polluting effluents produced by agro-food industries, providing high contaminants load that encase cytotoxic agents such as phenolic and polyphenolic compounds. Therefore, a significant and continuous stress episode is induced once the mixed liquor of the wastewater treatment plants (WWTP’s) is being exposed to OMWW. The use of bio-augmentation treatment procedures can be useful to eliminate or reduce such stress episodes. In this study, we have estimated the use of autochthonous biomass implementation within small bioreactor platform (SBP) particles as a bio-augmentation method to challenge against WWTPs stress episodes. Our results showed that SBP particles significantly reduced the presence of various phenolics: tannic, gallic and caffeic acid in a synthetic medium and in crude OMWW matrix. Moreover, the SBP particles succeeded to biodegrade a very high concentration of phenol blend (3000 mg L−1). Our findings indicated that the presence of the SBP microfiltration membrane has reduced the phenol biodegradation rate by 50 % compared to the same suspended culture. Despite the observed reduction in biodegradation rate, encapsulation in a confined environment can offer significant values such as overcoming the grazing forcers and dilution, thus achieving a long-term sufficient biomass. The potential for reducing stress episodes caused by cytotoxic agents through bio-augmentation treatment procedure using the SBP technology is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15179-15187
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
    Issue number19
    StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This project was partially supported by the Swedish fund provided to the Tel Hai College, Israel, and partially by the Institute of Applied Research, the Galilee Society, Shefa Amr, Israel. We thank the company of BioCastle Water Technologies Ltd., Israel, that enabled this study to be fulfilled, by contributing the necessary SBP capsules and providing encapsulation knowhow knowledge for the success of this study. Special thanks to Mr Fares Halahleh from the R&D Galilee Society for his help in the HPLC analysis.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


    • Confined environment bio-augmentation
    • Encapsulation
    • Olive mill wastewater
    • Phenol biodegradation
    • Small bioreactor platform (SBP)
    • Wastewater treatment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Pollution
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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