Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Eric D. Conte (Director), Dr. John Loughrin, Dr. Bangbo Yan

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Naturally occurring plant derived phenols can be degraded through bacteria in swine waste. Chlorinated phenols, which are not naturally present in the environment, are toxic and generated from industrial activities as such petrochemical, pharmaceutical, plastic, rubber, pesticide, iron, steel, paper production, coal conversion, wood preserving, and cellulose bleaching. Large scale coal gasification and carbonization plants are another source of chlorinated phenols. Although not normally present in the environment, chlorinated phenols are structurally similar to many plant derived phenolics.

It is our hypothesis that bacteria located in swine wastes may also have the ability to degrade chlorinated phenols. Identifying situations (and organisms) in which degradation of pollutants occurs is important field of research.

Experimental work was focused on measuring the degradation of seven chlorinated phenols in swine waste using solid-phase micro-extraction (SPME) and gas chromatography(GC). Microbes in the waste perform respiration or fermentation to obtain the energy they need to carry out their life processes. Fermentation is a process in which electrons are transferred from one organic substrate to another and which results in incomplete degradation of organic compounds. Anaerobic respiration is a process in which organic substrates are degraded completely to CO2, but using substances other than oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor (such as Fe(III), NO3- or SO42-). Anaerobic respiration using these alternative electron acceptors provides an easier pathway for degradation of aromatics than fermentation alone. Usually the abundance of these electron acceptors in waste is low since microbes consume them readily and thus they must be added to the mixture. Our work focused on development of methods for the quantification of chlorinated phenols in swine wastes and results of bioremediation research.

In this study, chlorophenols were extracted by SPME and analysed by GC. This research project mainly focused on the anaerobic degradation of chlorophenols in swine waste. It was observed that the decreased concentration of the chlorophenols was likely due to partitioning of the chlorophenols to solids, sticking to glass bottles and by bacteria present in the swine waste.

In summary, it was observed that by ANOVA and gas production analysis 2,6-dichlorophenol and 2,4,5-trichlorophenol were likely to be degraded by bacteria present in swine waste.


Environmental Chemistry | Environmental Health and Protection | Organic Chemistry