Effects of different culture media on biodegradation of triclosan by Rhodotorula mucilaginosa and Penicillium sp.

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent and a persistent pollutant. The biodegradation of triclosan is dependent on many variables including the biodegradation organism and the environmental conditions. Here, we evaluated the triclosan degradation potential of two fungi strains, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa and Penicillium sp., and the rate of its turnover to 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP). Both of these strains showed less susceptibility to triclosan when grown in minimal salt medium. In order to further evaluate the effects of environmental conditions on triclosan degradation, three different culture conditions including original thermal power plant wastewater, T6 nutrimedia and ammonium mineral salts medium were used. The maximum triclosan degradation yield was 48% for R. mucilaginosa and 82% for Penicillium sp. at 2.7 mg/L triclosan concentration. Biodegradation experiments revealed that Penicillium sp. was more tolerant to triclosan. Scanning electron microscopy micrographs also showed the morphological changes of fungus when cells were treated with triclosan. Overall, these fungi strains could be used as effective microorganisms in active uptake (degradation) and passive uptake (sorption) of triclosan and their efficiency can be increased by optimizing the culture conditions.

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