Microbiome based approaches for the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): A current perception

Rasanpreet Kaur, Saurabh Gupta, Vishal Tripathi, Arjun Chauhan, Deepak Parashar, Prem Shankar, Vivek Kashyap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Globally, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) pollution is primarily driven by their release into the air through various combustion processes, including burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas in motor vehicles, power plants, and industries, as well as burning organic matter like wood, tobacco, and food in fireplaces, cigarettes, and grills. Apart from anthropogenic pollution sources, PAHs also occur naturally in crude oil, and their potential release during oil extraction, refining processes, and combustion further contributes to contamination and pollution concerns. PAHs are resistant and persistent in the environment because of their inherent features, viz., heterocyclic aromatic ring configurations, hydrophobicity, and thermostability. A wide range of microorganisms have been found to be effective degraders of these recalcitrant contaminants. The presence of hydrocarbons as a result of numerous anthropogenic activities is one of the primary environmental concerns. PAHs are found in soil, water, and the air, making them ubiquitous in nature. The presence of PAHs in the environment creates a problem, as their presence has a detrimental effect on humans and animals. For a variety of life forms, PAH pollutants are reported to be toxic, carcinogenic, mutation-inducing, teratogenic, and immune toxicogenics. Degradation of PAHs via biological activity is an extensively used approach in which diverse microorganisms (fungal, algal, clitellate, and protozoan) and plant species and their derived composites are utilized as biocatalysts and biosurfactants. Some microbes have the ability to transform and degrade these PAHs, allowing them to be removed from the environment. The goal of this review is to provide a critical overview of the existing understanding of PAH biodegradation. It also examines current advances in diverse methodologies for PAH degradation in order to shed light on fundamental challenges and future potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139951
StateE-pub ahead of print - Aug 29 2023
Externally publishedYes


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