Degradation of Estrogens by Rhodococcus zopfii and Rhodococcus equi Isolates from Activated Sludge in Wastewater Treatment Plants


American Society for Microbiology


We have isolated four strains of Rhodococcus which specifically degrade estrogens by using enrichment culture of activated sludge from wastewater treatment plants. Strain Y 50158, identified as Rhodococcus zopfii, completely and rapidly degraded 100 mg of 17β-estradiol, estrone, estriol, and ethinyl estradiol/liter, as demonstrated by thin-layer chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. Strains Y 50155, Y 50156, and Y 50157, identified as Rhodococcus equi, showed degradation activities comparable with that of Y 50158. Using the random amplified polymorphism DNA fingerprinting test, these three strains were confirmed to have been derived from different sources. R. zopfii Y 50158, which showed the highest activity among these four strains, revealed that the strain selectively degraded 17β-estradiol during jar fermentation, even when glucose was used as a readily utilizable carbon source in the culture medium. Measurement of estrogenic activities with human breast cancer-derived MVLN cells showed that these four strains each degraded 100 mg of 17β-estradiol/liter to 1/100 of the specific activity level after 24 h. It is thus suggested that these strains degrade 17β-estradiol into substances without estrogenic activity.

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