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Biodegradation of the fluorinated non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical Flurbiprofen by environmental bacterial isolates

Murdoch, Robert Waller
Flurbiprofen is a fluorinated non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical. While flurbiprofen is quite popular in Turkey, there is at the present time no information as to how environmental bacteria degrade this chemical. Organisms capable of using flurbiprofen as sole carbon and energy source will be enriched from Ankara municipal sewage treatment plant. Strains will be isolated and identified using molecular methods. The general features of degradation pathways employed by unique strains will be characterized by HPLC. The appearance of metabolic byproducts, which is likely given the fluorinated nature of the chemical, will be monitored by HPLC. Toxicity of flurbiprofen culture supernatants will be analyzed by standard bacterial growth inhibition assay. Culture supernatants and individual metabolic products that are detectable and fractionatable by HPLC will be structurally characterized by GC/MS and/or NMR. Unique pathways will be further characterized by assays upon flurbiprofen-induced resting cell assays; degradation of catechol, phenylacetic acid, and various simple aromatic compounds will be used to gain insight into the pathways employed by these bacteria. The EC50 for bacterial growth inhibition will be calculated for any specific metabolic intermediates that can either be isolated by HPLC fractionation or purchased from chemical distributors. The expected outcome is the isolation and identification of the first flurbiprofen degrading organisms to be desc