Bioremediation holds the promise as a cost effective treatment technology for a wide variety of hazardous pollutants. In this study, the biodegradation of organic compounds discharged together with radioactive wastes is investigated. Nuclear process wastewater was simulated by a mixture of phenol and strontium, which is a major radionuclide found in radioactive wastewater. Phenol was used in the study as a model compound due to its simplicity of molecular structure. Moreover, the biodegradation pathway of phenol is well known. Biodegradation studies were conducted using pure cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas putida. The rate of phenol degradation by both species was found to be higher in the test without strontium. This suggests some degree of inhibition in the degradation of phenol by strontium. There was no phenol degradation in the sterile controls. The results indicate the feasibility of the biodegradation of organic pollutants discharged in radioactive effluents by specialised microbial cultures.

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