Biodegradation and Metabolic Pathway of 17β-Estradiol by Rhodococcus sp. ED55

Irina S. Moreira*, Sapia Murgolo, Giuseppe Mascolo, Paula M. L. Castro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the environment are considered a motif of concern, due to the widespread occurrence and potential adverse ecological and human health effects. The natural estrogen, 17β-estradiol (E2), is frequently detected in receiving water bodies after not being efficiently removed in conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), promoting a negative impact for both the aquatic ecosystem and human health. In this study, the biodegradation of E2 by Rhodococcus sp. ED55, a bacterial strain isolated from sediments of a discharge point of WWTP in Coloane, Macau, was investigated. Rhodococcus sp. ED55 was able to completely degrade 5 mg/L of E2 in 4 h in a synthetic medium. A similar degradation pattern was observed when the bacterial strain was used in wastewater collected from a WWTP, where a significant improvement in the degradation of the compound occurred. The detection and identification of 17 metabolites was achieved by means of UPLC/ESI/HRMS, which proposed a degradation pathway of E2. The acute test with luminescent marine bacterium Aliivibrio fischeri revealed the elimination of the toxicity of the treated effluent and the standardized yeast estrogenic (S-YES) assay with the recombinant strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae revealed a decrease in the estrogenic activity of wastewater samples after biodegradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6181
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • 17β-estradiol
  • Rhodococcus sp. ED55
  • Bioaugmentation
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • Wastewater


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