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Using bacteria- Acinetobacter Junii, isolated from soil and effluents near an oil refinery, researchers from the University of Delhi and IIT-BHU, have successfully degraded toluene into less-toxic byproducts.


Toluene is one of the petrochemical wastes that get released without treatment from industries such as refineries, paint, textile, paper and rubber. Toluene has been reported to cause serious health problems to aquatic life, and studies point that it has genotoxic and carcinogenic effects on human beings.

Acinetobacter Junii:

  • The bacteria were isolated from the soil samples, identified and studied for their toluene-degrading abilities.
  • These bacteria change the morphology of toluene to remove its toxicity. The degradation is found to be general aerobic (in presence of oxygen) biodegradation. The bacteria use up this toluene as their carbon source in the presence of oxygen.

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