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Adsorption and Biodegradation of Aromatic Chemicals by Bacteria Encapsulated in a Hydrophobic Silica Gel.
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ACS applied materials & interfaces, ISSN: 1944-8252, Vol: 9, Issue: 32, Page: 26848-26858
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An adsorbent silica biogel material was developed via silica gel encapsulation of Pseudomonas sp. NCIB 9816-4, a bacterium that degrades a broad spectrum of aromatic pollutants. The adsorbent matrix was synthesized using silica precursors methyltrimethoxysilane and tetramethoxysilane to maximize the adsorption capacity of the matrix while maintaining a highly networked and porous microstructure. The encapsulated bacteria enhanced the removal rate and capacity of the matrix for an aromatic chemical mixture. Repeated use of the material over four cycles was conducted to demonstrate that the removal capacity could be maintained with combined adsorption and biodegradation. The silica biogel can thus be used extensively without the need for disposal, as a result of continuous biodegradation by the encapsulated bacteria. However, an inverse trend was observed with the ratio of biodegradation to adsorption as a function of log K, suggesting increasing mass-transport limitation for the most hydrophobic chemicals used (log K > 4).