Bioremediation usually exhibits low removal efficiency toward hexane because of poor water solubility, which limits the mass transfer rate between the substrate and microorganism. This work aimed to enhance the hexane degradation rate by increasing cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) of the degrader, Pseudomonas mendocina NX-1. The CSH of P. mendocina NX-1 was manipulated by treatment with starch and chitosan solution of varied concentrations, reaching a maximum hydrophobicity of 52%. The biodegradation of hexane conformed to the Haldane inhibition model, and the maximum degradation rate (νmax) of the cells with 52% CSH was 0.72 mg (mg cell)−1·h−1 in comparison with 0.47 mg (mg cell)−1·h−1 for cells with 15% CSH. The production of CO2 by high CSH cells was threefold higher than that by cells at 15% CSH within 30 h, and the cumulative rates of O2 consumption were 0.16 and 0.05 mL/h, respectively. High CSH was related to low negative charge carried by the cell surface and probably reduced the repulsive electrostatic interactions between hexane and microorganisms. The FT-IR spectra of cell envelopes demonstrated that the methyl chain was inversely proportional to increasing CSH values, but proteins exhibited a positive effect to CSH enhancement. The ratio of extracellular proteins and polysaccharides increased from 0.87 to 3.78 when the cells were treated with starch and chitosan, indicating their possible roles in increased CSH.
- Cell surface hydrophobicity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology