Biodegradation potential of paracetamol by marine bacteria consortia

Julia Melina Valentine-Pursel

The following study focuses on the degradation potential of bacteria enriched from marine organism samples on paracetamol. This drug has been for many years widely used for its anti-inflammatory abilities. Being one of the most commonly prescribed drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing concern for paracetamol due to its ability to pollute our water resources. In the framework of PROBIOMA research project on-going, this study aims to determine if paracetamol can be degraded using marine bacteria consortia recovered organisms (Porifera Hymedesmia versicolor, Tunicata Didemnum sp., and Annelida Filograna implexa) from marine caves of Algarve and from Lousal mine. Initially, cultivation of the bacterial consortia recovered from the marine organism, sediments and mines were conducted. The detection, separation, and monitoring of paracetamol and its metabolites was performed using analytical chromatographic techniques, namely high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) during the biodegradation experiments with marine samples. Bacteria with ability to degrade paracetamol as sole carbon source in the presence of a nitrogen source were isolated from the communities where degradation of paracetamol was present. Overall, the marine consortium and its bacterial isolates studied were able to remove paracetamol as unique carbon source and likely displaying a potential to degrade other pharmaceutical compounds with common structural characteristics.