Inhibition of dehydrogenase activity in petroleum refinery wastewater bacteria by phenolic compounds

Christian Okechukwu Nweke, Gideon C. Okpokwasili


The toxicity of phenol, 2-nitrophenol, 4-nitrophenol, 2,4-dinitrophenol, 2-chlorophenol, 4-chlorophenol, 4-bromophenol and 3,5-dimethylphenol on Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Escherichia species isolated from petroleum refinery wastewater was assessed via inhibition of dehydrogenase enzyme activity. At low concentrations, 2-nitrophenol, 2-chlorophenol, 4-chlorophenol, 4-bromophenol and 3,5-dimethylphenol stimulated dehydrogenase activity and at sufficient concentrations, phenolic compounds inhibited dehydrogenase activities. Generally, phenol is less toxic than substituted phenols. Estimations of the degree of inhibition/stimulation of dehydrogenase activities showed significant dose-dependent responses that are describable by logistic functions. The toxicity thresholds varied significantly (P < 0.05) among the bacterial strains and phenolic compounds. The median inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) ranged from 4.118 ± 0.097 mg.L-1 for 4-nitrophenol against Pseudomonas sp. DAF1 to 1407.997 ± 7.091 mg.L-1 for phenol against Bacillus sp. DISK1. This study suggested that the organisms have moderate sensitivity to phenols and have the potential to be used as indicators for assessment of chemical toxicity. They could also be used as catalysts for degradation of phenols in effluents.


Dehydrogenase activity; phenolic compounds; petroleum refinery effluent

Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

Editoração:Apoio:Filiada à ABEC: