Biodegradation of octylphenol polyethoxylate surfactant Triton X-100 by selected microorganisms

Hsi Jien Chen, Dyi Hwa Tseng, Shir Ly Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Octylphenol polyethoxylate (OPEOn) surfactants are used in numerous commercial and industrial products. Large amounts of such surfactants and their various residual biodegradation by-products are ultimately released into the environment. OPEOn biodegradation was performed in this study using pure cultures of Pseudomonas species and strains under different environmental conditions. Environmental factors including the pH, nitrogen sources, and growth kinetics of the cells were investigated. The intermediates of Triton X-100 biotransformation were detected by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrophotograph (HPLC-MS). We found the highest specific growth rate (μ) was 0.56 h-1 and this was achieved by strain E with an initial concentration of Triton X-100 of 5000 mg L-1. A pH level of 7 was most favorable for cell growth for all five strains. The highest specific growth rate was achieved using (NH4)2SO 4 as the sole nitrogen source for strain E. Strain A showed an enhancement of growth when between 0.2 and 1.4 mg L-1 of H 2O2 was added. Detection of intermediates was possible after four days of transformation and the octylphenol triethoxylate (OPEO 3) peak was predominant, while the high molecular weight peaks had all disappeared. The kinetic analysis demonstrated that the greatest maximum specific growth rate (μmax) and the greatest saturation constant (Ks) of 0.83 h-1 and 5.24 mg L-1, respectively, were obtained for strain E in 5000 mg L-1 Triton X-100. The higher Ki revealed that strain A was resistant to higher Triton X-100 concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1491
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Alkylphenol Polyethoxylate
  • Biodegradation
  • Environmental factors
  • Octylphenol Polyethoxylate
  • Surfactant


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