Aerobic biodegradation of nitrobenzene (NB) produces nitrophenol (NP), which has stronger toxicity than NB. Anaerobic biodegradation of NB produces aniline (AN), which has weaker toxicity, but is a dead-end product in anaerobic conditions. Accumulation of AN should be overcome by coupling anaerobic and aerobic transformations: NB is transformed to AN in an anaerobic zone of the bioreactor, and AN is then transformed in an aerobic zone. A vertical baffled bioreactor (VBBR) was employed for NB biodegradation with a controlled dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration. NB biodegradation was accelerated by simultaneous anaerobic and aerobic transformations, since AN was biotransformed by a mono-oxygenase reaction. Adding exogenous electron donor (acetate) enhanced NB removals when the DO concentration was ∼0.5 mg/L, because the donor accelerated mono-oxygenations of NB and AN. Coupling anaerobic and aerobic transformations can be a valuable strategy for biodegrading organic compounds that undergo aerobic and anaerobic biotransformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-269
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018


  • Aniline
  • Biotransformation
  • Mono-oxygenation
  • Nitrobenzene
  • Nitrophenol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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