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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Mar 1;35(5):917-22.

Fluoranthene-2,3- and -1,5-diones are novel products from the bacterial transformation of fluoranthene.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, CB 7400, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7400, USA.


Fluoranthene is one of the predominant compounds found in soils and sediments contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Four bacterial strains isolated from PAH-contaminated soils transformed fluoranthene to a number of products during growth on phenanthrene, including the novel metabolites fluoranthene-2,3-dione (F23Q) and fluoranthene-1,5-dione (F15Q). Given the known toxicity and mutagenicity of F23Q, we focused on characterizing this metabolite with respect to its effects on the metabolism of other PAH. The yield of F23Q from fluoranthene ranged from 2% for Sphingomonas yanoikuyae R1 to greater than 20% for Pseudomonas stutzeri P16 and Bacillus cereus P21. None of the strains appeared capable of metabolizing F23Q any further. F23Q strongly inhibited phenanthrene removal by strain R1 but had a negligible to minor effect on phenanthrene degradation by the other organisms. At a concentration of 6.8 microM, F23Q also substantially inhibited the mineralization of benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), and chrysene by strain R1 as well as BaP mineralization by Pseudomonas saccharophila P15. Inhibition of BaP mineralization by strain P15 was still evident at an F23Q concentration of 0.68 microM. The inhibition of strain R1 by F23Q was explained in part by a cytotoxic effect, but results with strain P15 indicate that other mechanisms of inhibition occur. These findings suggest that quinones such as F23Q and F15Q have the potential to accumulate in PAH-contaminated systems and can inhibit the degradation of other PAH.

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