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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;58(3):364-9. Epub 2001 Dec 21.

Degradation of biphenyl by Mycobacterium sp. strain PYR-1.

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


The metabolism of biphenyl by Mycobacterium sp. PYR-1 was investigated. The Mycobacterium sp. degraded >98% of the biphenyl added within 72 h. Analysis of ethyl acetate extracts of the culture medium by HPLC indicated that benzoic acid was the major metabolite. Other products were 4-hydroxybiphenyl, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and 5-oxo-5-phenylpentanoic acid. The metabolites were characterized by mass and 1H NMR spectrometry. Identification of benzoic acid and 5-oxo-5-phenylpentanoic acid indicates that biphenyl degradation by Mycobacterium sp. PYR-1 is generally similar to known pathways. A novel alternative metabolic pathway consisted of monooxygenation at C-4 of biphenyl to give 4-hydroxybiphenyl, with subsequent degradation via ring cleavage to 4-hydroxybenzoic acid.

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