Aerobic biotransformation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) by bacterial isolates. Academic Article uri icon


  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants that have been used in consumer products and furniture for three decades. Currently, very little is known about their fate in the environment and specifically about their susceptibility to aerobic biotransformation. Here, we investigated the ability of the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) degrading bacteria Rhodococcus jostii RHA1 and Burkholderia xenovorans LB400 to transform mono- through hexa-BDEs at ppb levels. We also tested the PBDE transforming abilities of the related strain Rhodococcus sp. RR1 and the ether-degrading Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans CB1190. The two PCB-degrading strains transformed all of the mono- through penta-BDEs and strain LB400 transformed one of the hexa-BDEs. The extent of transformation was inversely proportional to the degree of bromination. Strains RR1 and CB1190 were only able to transform the less brominated mono- and di-BDE congeners. RHA1 released stoichiometric quantities of bromide while transforming mono- and tetra-BDE congeners. LB400 instead converted most of a mono-BDE to a hydroxylated mono-BDE. This is the first report of aerobic transformation of tetra-, penta,- and hexa-BDEs as well as the first report of stoichiometric release of bromide during PBDE transformation.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Robrock, K. R., Coelhan, M., Sedlak, D. L., & Alvarez-Cohent, L.

citation count

  • 105

complete list of authors

  • Robrock, Kristin R||Coelhan, Mehmet||Sedlak, David L||Alvarez-Cohent, Lisa

publication date

  • August 2009