New forms of bacteria are isolated from their natural environment in order to recover areas contaminated by toxic chlorophenols

Members of the Molecular Microbial Ecology (gEMM) team from the Institute of Aquatic Ecology (UdG), in collaboration with researchers from the Pharmacy Faculty of the University of Barcelona (UB), have detected the presence in natural environments of bacteria capable of resisting high concentrations of chlorophenols, highly toxic chlorinated compounds used in the chemical industry which can cause environmental contamination.

Some of this bacteria, that have been isolated and cultured in the laboratory, such as Kocuria palustris, Lysobacter gummosus, Pseudomonas putida, Burkholderia arboris, Luteibacter rhizovicinus and various species of Bacillus, are not only capable of growing with high concentrations of the most toxic organochlorinated compounds (TCP and PCP), but also they can reduce its concentrations in the environment. Moreover, in certain conditions, their presence would favour an increase in microbial activity in ecosystems affected by occasional pollution events.

The biotechnological interest of these resistant microbial strains is their potential application to recover areas polluted with these substances (for example, in the event of spillages caused by accidents in chemical industries). In this sense, as they are microorganisms directly obtained from natural ecosystems, it can be more effective to use them in the environment instead of bacterial cultures that have been selected or modified in the laboratory. The results of this research have been published in the international magazines Chemosphere, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Geomicrobiology Journal and Journal of the Total Environment, all of which with a great international impact in the fields of microbiology and environmental sciences.

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