Biodesulfurization (BDS) is one of the most promising technologies used together with traditional hydrodesulfurization (HDS) to reduce the sulfur content of fossil fuels. In this research study, a strain of Cunninghamella elegans (UCP 596) was isolated from mangrove sediments to metabolize an organosulfur dibenzothiophene (DBT) compound in the concentrations of 0.5 and 1 mM and transform to DBT sulfone (DBT-5-dioxide), followed by dibenzothiophene 5,5-dioxide and 2-hydroxybiphenyl metabolites, thus suggesting the use of the “4S” metabolic pathway. The fungus also degraded the DBT completely in the first 24 h of growth on a 2.0 mM DBT concentration by angular deoxygenation, which suggests that a new second metabolic pathway was used. The DBT was consumed as the carbon source, and the sulfur was removed in the form of sulfite ion. A new product, benzoic acid, was formed at the end of the catabolism of DBT by C. elegans using an angular route.
Part of the book: Recent Insights in Petroleum Science and Engineering