Biodegradation of the fluorinated non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical flurbiprofen

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2016
Yanaç, Kadir
Flurbiprofen (FLB) is a fluorinated aromatic acid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical which is widely consumed in Turkey. However, nothing is known regarding its environmental fate. The aim of this master thesis study was to contribute to the understanding of the biodegradation of flurbiprofen (FLB) by environmental bacteria and to gain understanding of the biological activities of fluorinated aromatics and their tendencies to result in toxic byproducts. FLB was spiked into aerobic sewage sludge from Ankara Municipal Treatment Plant. Metabolism of FLB by environmental bacteria resulted in accumulation of a highly persistent metabolite identified by LCMS as 4-(1-carboxyethyl)-2-fluorobenzoic acid. The production of this metabolite is consistent with described pathways for monochlorobiphenyl. Additionally, since FLB itself was quite recalcitrant, taking one week to 3 months to fully degrade, FLB and its metabolite are likely discharged into the environment from typical wastewater treatment plants. Aerobic sewage sludge from Ankara Municipal Treatment Plant was also enriched for FLB degraders. FLB degraders could not be isolated despite using different minimal salt medium (MSM) systems and including vitamins. On the other hand, enrichment for tolylacetic acids (TAA) and phenylacetic acid (PAA) degraders was successful, indicating that MSM system worked. This work suggests that FLB is very poorly degraded by aerobic bacteria, likely due to production of a dead-end fluorinated metabolite.