In silico identification of bioremediation potential: Carbamazepine and other recalcitrant personal care products

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Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN: 1520-5851, Vol: 51, Issue: 2, Page: 880-888

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Kelly G. Aukema; Meghan M. Maltby; Asim K. Bera; Lawrence P. Wackett; Diego E. Escalante; Alptekin Aksan
Chemistry; Environmental Science
article description
Emerging contaminants are principally personal care products not readily removed by conventional wastewater treatment and, with an increasing reliance on water recycling, become disseminated in drinking water supplies. Carbamazepine, a widely used neuroactive pharmaceutical, increasingly escapes wastewater treatment and is found in potable water. In this study, a mechanism is proposed by which carbamazepine resists biodegradation, and a previously unknown microbial biodegradation was predicted computationally. The prediction identified biphenyl dioxygenase from Paraburkholderia xenovorans LB400 as the best candidate enzyme for metabolizing carbamazepine. The rate of degradation described here is 40 times greater than the best reported rates. The metabolites cis-10,11-dihydroxy-10,11-dihydrocarbamazepine and cis-2,3-dihydroxy-2,3-dihydrocarbamaze-pine were demonstrated with the native organism and a recombinant host. The metabolites are considered nonharmful and mitigate the generation of carcinogenic acridine products known to form when advanced oxidation methods are used in water treatment. Other recalcitrant personal care products were subjected to prediction by the Pathway Prediction System and tested experimentally with P. xenovorans LB400. It was shown to biodegrade structurally diverse compounds. Predictions indicated hydrolase or oxygenase enzymes catalyzed the initial reactions. This study highlights the potential for using the growing body of enzyme‚ąístructural and genomic information with computational methods to rapidly identify enzymes and microorganisms that biodegrade emerging contaminants.