Chlorophenols are widespread and of environmental concern due to their toxic and carcinogenic properties. Development of less costly and less technically challenging remediation methods are needed; therefore, we developed a formulation based on micronized vermiculite that, when air-dried, resulted in a granular product containing the 4-chlorophenol (4-CP)-degrading Gram-positive bacterium Arthrobacter chlorophenolicus A6. This formulation and stabilization method yielded survival rates of about 60% that remained stable in storage for at least 3 months at 4 °C. The 4-CP degradation by the formulated and desiccated A. chlorophenolicus A6 cells was compared to that of freshly grown cells in controlled-environment soil microcosms. The stabilized cells degraded 4-CP equally efficient as freshly grown cells in two different set-ups using both hygienized and non-treated soils. The desiccated microbial product was successfully employed in an outdoor pot trial showing its effectiveness under more realistic environmental conditions. No significant phytoremediation effects on 4-CP degradation were observed in the outdoor pot experiment. The 4-CP degradation kinetics from both the microcosms and the outdoor pot trial were used to generate a predictive model of 4-CP biodegradation potentially useful for larger-scale operations, enabling better bioremediation set-ups and saving of resources. This study also opens up the possibility of formulating and stabilizing also other Arthrobacter strains possessing different desirable pollutant-degrading capabilities.
- Microbial stabilization