Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Luis Materon

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristine Lowe

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Persans


The Donna Irrigation System (DIS) located in Donna, Hidalgo County, TX, was confirmed to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in 1993 and remediation of the site will be attempted in the future. The need to isolate novel PCB degrading bacteria for bioremediation has been an active area of research in recent decades; thus, it was hypothesized that a variety of microorganisms able to degrade PCBs could be isolated from sediments taken from the DIS. Two genes of the PCB degradation pathway, bphA1 and bphC, were detected in 43 bacterial isolates grown from DIS sediments using molecular and culture-based methodology, confirming the PCB degradation potential of these bacteria. Biochemical testing indicated differences in the enzymatic activity, carbohydrate fermentation ability, and carbon source utilization patterns of these isolates and strongly suggests that a variety of species, and possibly genera, of PCB degrading bacteria are present in the sediments of the DIS.


Copyright 2014 Sergio Cepeda. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American