FURI | Spring 2023

Investigating Microbial Biodegradation of 6PPD and 6PPD-quinone

Sustainability icon, disabled. A green leaf.

This experiment seeks to answer the question: Can the environmental contaminants N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N’-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (6PPD) and 6PPD-quinone (6PPDQ) be microbially degraded under various environmental conditions? To verify if microbes can utilize the contaminants as a sole carbon source, 6PPD and 6PPDQ were incubated under aerobic conditions with a microbial inoculum derived from wastewater-activated sludge. After verifying microbial growth on plates, colony-forming units were swabbed and incubated in liquid media to isolate possible contaminant metabolizers and track changes in contaminant concentrations and microbial growth. This study generates fundamental knowledge on microbial degradation of 6PPD and 6PPDQ in order to generate environmental biotechnologies for their management. Possible future research may include incubation under different environmental conditions to provide more comprehensive insight into the contaminants’ environmental transport and fate.

Student researcher

Ryan Koenig-Vinicombe

Environmental engineering

Hometown: Centereach, New York, United States

Graduation date: Fall 2023