Azo dye decolorization was studied with Shewanella strains under saline conditions. Growing cells of Shewanella algae and Shewanella marisflavi isolated from marine environments demonstrated better azo dye decolorization capacities than the other three strains from non-saline sources. Cell suspensions of S. algae and S. marisflavi could decolorize single or mixed azo dyes with different structures. Decolorization kinetics were described with Michaelis-Menton equation, which indicated better decolorization performance of S. algae over S. marisflavi. Lactate and formate were identified as efficient electron donors for amaranth decolorization by the two strains. S. algae and S. marisflavi could decolorize amaranth at up to 100 g L(-1) NaCl or Na(2)SO(4). However, extremely low concentration of NaNO(3) exerted strong inhibition on decolorization. Both strains could remove the color and COD of textile effluent during sequential anaerobic-aerobic incubation. Lower concentrations of NaCl (20-30 g L(-1)) stimulated the activities of azoreductase, laccase, and NADH-DCIP reductase. The decolorization intermediates were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Decolorization metabolites of amaranth were less toxic than original dye. These findings improved our knowledge of azo-dye-decolorizing Shewanella species and provided efficient candidates for the treatment of dye-polluted saline wastewaters.
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