International Journal of Research and Review

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Review Article

Year: 2015 | Month: February | Volume: 2 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 46-54

Microbial Degradation of Phenol- A Review

Rajani V.

PG Department of Environmental Sciences, All Saints’ College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India


Aromatic compounds are widely distributed in nature and free phenols are frequently liberated asmetabolic intermediates during the degradation of plant materials. In recent years the natural supply of phenolic substances has been greatly increased due to the release of industrial byproducts into the environment. Effluents from petrochemical, textile and coal industries contain phenolic compounds in very high concentration; therefore there is a necessity to remove phenolic compounds from the environment. Among various techniques available for removal of phenols, biodegradation is an environment friendly and cost effective method.  The efficiency of biodegradation of organic compounds is influenced by the type of the organic pollutant, the nature of the organism, the enzyme involved, the mechanism of degradation and the nature of the influencing factors. This also depends on aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Under aerobic conditions, degradation of phenol was shown to be initiated by oxygenation into catechols as intermediates followed by a ring cleavage at either the ortho or meta position, depending on the type of strain. Aerobically, phenol is first converted to catechol, and subsequently, the catechol is degraded via ortho or meta fission to intermediates of central metabolism. This paper describes about the various sources of phenol, various microorganisms involved in the biodegradation including aerobe and anaerobe, effect of environmental parameters on phenol degradation and kinetic analysis of biodegradation.

Key words: Phenol, Aerobic and Anaerobic biodegradation, Microorganisms, Reactors, Ortho and Meta pathway, Microbial metabolism.

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