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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Apr;67(4):1476-83.

Degradation of phenanthrene and anthracene by cell suspensions of Mycobacterium sp. strain PYR-1.

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  • 1Division of Microbiology, National Center for Toxicological Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA.


Cultures of Mycobacterium sp. strain PYR-1 were dosed with anthracene or phenanthrene and after 14 days of incubation had degraded 92 and 90% of the added anthracene and phenanthrene, respectively. The metabolites were extracted and identified by UV-visible light absorption, high-pressure liquid chromatography retention times, mass spectrometry, (1)H and (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, and comparison to authentic compounds and literature data. Neutral-pH ethyl acetate extracts from anthracene-incubated cells showed four metabolites, identified as cis-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2-dihydroanthracene, 6,7-benzocoumarin, 1-methoxy-2-hydroxyanthracene, and 9,10-anthraquinone. A novel anthracene ring fission product was isolated from acidified culture media and was identified as 3-(2-carboxyvinyl)naphthalene-2-carboxylic acid. 6,7-Benzocoumarin was also found in that extract. When Mycobacterium sp. strain PYR-1 was grown in the presence of phenanthrene, three neutral metabolites were identified as cis- and trans-9,10-dihydroxy-9,10-dihydrophenanthrene and cis-3,4-dihydroxy-3,4-dihydrophenanthrene. Phenanthrene ring fission products, isolated from acid extracts, were identified as 2,2'-diphenic acid, 1-hydroxynaphthoic acid, and phthalic acid. The data point to the existence, next to already known routes for both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, of alternative pathways that might be due to the presence of different dioxygenases or to a relaxed specificity of the same dioxygenase for initial attack on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

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