1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 unknown3 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Fast development of ionic liquids as gaining more and more attention valuable chemicals will undoubtedly lead to environmental pollution. New formulations and application of ionic liquids may result in contamination in the presence of hydrophobic compounds, such as petroleum mixtures. We hypothesize that in the presence of diesel fuel low-water-soluble ionic liquids may become more toxic to hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms. In this study the influence of 1-alkoxymethyl-2-methyl-5-hydroxypyridinium chloride homologues (side-chain length from C-3 to C-18) on biodegradation of diesel fuel by a bacterial consortium was investigated. Whereas test performed for the consortium cultivated on disodium succinate showed that toxicity of the investigated ionic liquids decreased with increase in side-chain length, only higher homologues (C-8-C-18) caused a decrease in diesel fuel biodegradation. As a result of exposure to toxic compounds also modification in cell surface hydrophobicity was observed (MATH). Disulphine blue active substances method was employed to determine partitioning index of ionic liquids between water and diesel fuel phase, which varied from 1.1 to 51% for C-3 and C-18 homologues, respectively. We conclude that in the presence of hydrocarbons acting as a solvent, the increased bioavailability of hydrophobic homologues is responsible for the decrease in biodegradation efficiency of diesel fuel.