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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Jan; 61(1): 297–302.
PMCID: PMC167284

Degradation and mineralization of atrazine by a soil bacterial isolate.


An atrazine-degrading bacterial culture was isolated from an agricultural soil previously impacted by herbicide spills. The organism was capable of using atrazine under aerobic conditions as the sole source of C and N. Cyanuric acid could replace atrazine as the sole source of N, indicating that the organism was capable of ring cleavage. Ring cleavage was confirmed in 14CO2 evolution experiments with [U-14C-ring]atrazine. Between 40 and 50% of ring-14C was mineralized to 14CO2. [14C]biuret and [14C]urea were detected in spent culture media. Cellular assimilation of 14C was negligible, in keeping with the fully oxidized valence of the ring carbon. Chloride release was stoichiometric. The formation of ammonium during atrazine degradation was below the stoichiometric amount, suggesting a deficit due to cellular assimilation and metabolite-N accumulation. With excess glucose and with atrazine as the sole N source, free ammonium was not detected, suggesting assimilation into biomass. The organism degraded atrazine anaerobically in media which contained (i) atrazine only, (ii) atrazine and glucose, and (iii) atrazine, glucose, and nitrate. To date, this is the first report of a pure bacterial isolate with the ability to cleave the s-triazine ring structure of atrazine. It was also concluded that this bacterium was capable of dealkylation, dechlorination, and deamination in addition to ring cleavage.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Jessee JA, Benoit RE, Hendricks AC, Allen GC, Neal JL. Anaerobic degradation of cyanuric Acid, cysteine, and atrazine by a facultative anaerobic bacterium. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 Jan;45(1):97–102. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mandelbaum RT, Wackett LP, Allan DL. Mineralization of the s-triazine ring of atrazine by stable bacterial mixed cultures. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993 Jun;59(6):1695–1701. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Muir DC, Baker BE. Detection of triazine herbicides and their degradation products in tile-drain water from fields under intensive corn (maize) production. J Agric Food Chem. 1976 Jan-Feb;24(1):122–125. [PubMed]
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