Oxidation of toxic methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) by fungi and nanofilter


avatar Giti Emtiazi ORCID 1 , * , avatar Elahe Heydari 2 , avatar Tayebe Saleh 2

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Isfahan, [email protected], Iran
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Isfahan, Iran

how to cite: Emtiazi G, Heydari E, Saleh T. Oxidation of toxic methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) by fungi and nanofilter. Jundishapur J Microbiol.3(3): 99-106.


Introduction and objective: Methyl tert-butyl Ether (MTBE) has been used in gasoline as a lead substitute. It is introduced into various environmental compartments during the production, distribution, use and storage of oxygenate-blended fuels. Nanofiltration, widely developed over the past decade, is a promising technology for the treatment of organic and inorganic pollutants. The aim of the present research was to study the efficiency of MTBE removal by collaboration of a nanofilter and fungi. 

Materials and methods: In an experimental time of two hours and MTBE initial concentration of 20µl/ml, we investigated the effect of cell biomass, nanofilter and their collaboration on MTBE removal. Removal of MTBE was assayed with UV spectrum at 200-600 nm using chemical oxygen demand (COD) Hach reagent. The obtained blue green colour was measured by a turbidity measurement as (OD at 600 nm) in a UV-visible spectrophotometer against blank. The reduction of blue green colour showed the removal of MTBE.

Results: Phanerochate chrysosporium had positive growth on mineral salt media and MTBE as the only carbon sources, but Aspergillus did not grow on this media however produced small amount of formaldehyde from MTBE. The results have showed that the MTBE removal by P. chrysosporium (5mg/ml), nanofilter (1cm2/ml) and P. chrysosporium with nanofilter were 53%, 47% and 91%, respectively.

Conclusion: The focus of this study was to recommend a new technique based on application of nanotechnology for bioremediation of MTBE as a complementary treatment system after preliminary treatment due to its high MTBE removal efficiency.

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