Bioremediation of 1,4-Dioxane and Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons by Propanotrophic Bacteria


Enhanced Bioremediation of 1,4-Dioxane and Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons by A Gram-Negative Propanotrophic Bacterium

NJIT Case No. 18-013


Inventors: Mengyan Li, Daiyong Deng


Intellectual Property & Development status: Patent Protection is pending.

NJIT is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Technology Brief:

Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science have invented a novel cost-efficient and green solution for remediation of groundwater contaminants 1,4-Dioxane (dioxane) and Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons (CAHs). Dioxane and CAHs are among the most prevalent groundwater contaminants that require imminent remedial actions. Dioxane is a probable human carcinogen and as a contaminant of emerging concern, a number of states have legislated their regulatory levels on dioxane. For instance, NJ have lately revised its dioxane groundwater cleanup guidance level from 3 ppb to 0.4 ppb. In addition to their stringent regulatory levels, dioxane is extremely mobile in the subsurface leading to large contamination area with trace and diluted dioxane plumes. Considering the thousands of sites located in the US, the total remediation budget will be multi-billion dollars. The invention is a cost-effective bioremediation approach, which uses Gram-negative bacterium DD4 that degrades both dioxane and CAHs. In addition to its fast and uniform growth, DD4’s versatile degradation capabilities and resilience to the commonly occurring co-contaminants outcompete with other bioaugmentation strains. Importantly, DD4 is non-pathogenic and related species are commonly found with a symbiotic lifestyle with plants, implying its implementation for synergetic treatment with phytoremediation.



•       Remediation of 1,4-Dioxane and Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons



•       Cost-effective

•       Non-pathogenic

•       Sustainable

•       Increased efficacy


Inventors Bio:

Mengyan Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science at NJIT.  He has completed his postdoctoral training in environmental microbiology and biotechnology at Rice University. Dr. Li develops water remediation techniques that deploy microorganisms to biodegrade organic pollutants of emerging global concern. He also researches interdisciplinary methods for improving urban water treatment technologies, including the use of nanotechnology to disinfect supplies contaminated with pathogens. To assess the microbial activity in remediation and treatment processes, he has developed genetic forensic tools, such as a novel biomarker test to evaluate the biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane, a groundwater contaminant. That work won him the Honor Award in the Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science competition held by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. His ultimate research goal is to advance our knowledge on applied microbiology and molecular biotechnology and develop innovative techniques to mitigate and address environmental issues related to water and energy development. Beyond research, he has extensive experience and passion on educating undergraduate and graduate students and teaching courses on topics of environmental biology and microbiology.



Patent Information:
Water treatment
For Information, Contact:
Simon Nynens
VP, Business Incubation
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Mengyan Li
Daiyong Deng
Patent Pending
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