Microbiome degrading linear alkylbenzene sulfonate in activated sludge

Na Kyung Kim, Sang Hoon Lee, Hyeokjun Yoon, Garam Jeong, You Jung Jung, Moonsuk Hur, Byoung Hee Lee, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


As the most widely used anionic surfactant, linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) requires biological alkane degradation when it is treated using an activated sludge (AS) process in a wastewater treatment plant because of its structural carboxylic unavailability. As consumption of LAS is gradually increasing, LAS loading into the WWTP is accordingly increasing. However, fewer studies have examined the involvement of the AS microbial community in the LAS degradation. In this study, metagenomic approaches were used to define microbiomes involved in LAS degradation in AS, with a particular focus on ω-hydroxylation. The abundance and diversity of alkane-degrading genes were investigated, and these genes were integrated with reconstructed metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). Additionally, the association of functional genes and MAGs with respect to LAS degradation was investigated. The results showed that alkB and cytochrome P450 genes were only shared within specific MAGs. Unique sets of genes with diverse abundances were detected in each sample. The MAGs with the alkB and cytochrome P450 genes were strongly associated with the other MAGs and involved in positive commensal interactions. The findings provided significant insights into how the AS microbiomes, which have continuously treated anionic surfactants for decades, potentially metabolize LAS and interact with commensal bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126365
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Biological Resources , funded by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of the Republic of Korea (grant numbers NIBR202102104 , NIBR202123101 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Alkane 1-monooxygenase
  • Cytochrome p450
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Linear alkylbenzene sulfonate
  • Metagenomic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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