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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Feb;71(2):876-82.

Metabolism of bismuth subsalicylate and intracellular accumulation of bismuth by Fusarium sp. strain BI.

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  • 1BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 5510, USA.


Enrichment cultures were conducted using bismuth subsalicylate as the sole source of carbon and activated sludge as the inoculum. A pure culture was obtained and identified as a Fusarium sp. based on spore morphology and partial sequences of 18S rRNA, translation elongation factor 1-alpha, and beta-tubulin genes. The isolate, named Fusarium sp. strain BI, grew to equivalent densities when using salicylate or bismuth subsalicylate as carbon sources. Bismuth nitrate at concentrations of up to 200 muM did not limit growth of this organism on glucose. The concentration of soluble bismuth in suspensions of bismuth subsalicylate decreased during growth of Fusarium sp. strain BI. Transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy revealed that the accumulated bismuth was localized in phosphorus-rich granules distributed in the cytoplasm and vacuoles. Long-chain polyphosphates were extracted from fresh biomass grown on bismuth subsalicylate, and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry showed that these fractions also contained high concentrations of bismuth. Enzyme activity assays of crude extracts of Fusarium sp. strain BI showed that salicylate hydroxylase and catechol 1,2-dioxygenase were induced during growth on salicylate, indicating that this organism degrades salicylate by conversion of salicylate to catechol, followed by ortho cleavage of the aromatic ring. Catechol 2,3-dioxygenase activity was not detected. Fusarium sp. strain BI grew with several other aromatic acids as carbon sources: benzoate, 3-hydroxybenzoate, 4-hydroxybenzoate, gentisate, d-mandelate, l-phenylalanine, l-tyrosine, phenylacetate, 3-hydroxyphenylacetate, 4-hydroxyphenylacetate, and phenylpropionate.

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