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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Jan;60(1):357-62.

Pseudomonas putida Strains Which Constitutively Overexpress Mercury Resistance for Biodetoxification of Organomercurial Pollutants.

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  • 1National Research Center for Biotechnology (GBF), 3300-D Braunschweig, Germany.


Improved biocatalysts for mercury (Hg) remediation were generated by random mutagenesis of Pseudomonas putida with a minitransposon containing merTPAB, the structural genes specifying organomercury resistance. Subsequent selection for derivatives exhibiting elevated resistance levels to phenylmercury allowed the isolation of strains that constitutively express merTPAB at high levels, conferring the ability to cleave Hg from an organic moiety and reduce the freed Hg(II) to the less toxic elemental form, Hg, at greater rates. Constitutive overexpression of merTPAB had no apparent effect on culture growth rates, even when Hg(II) was initially present at otherwise toxic concentrations. These properties were also combined with benzene and toluene catabolism, allowing detoxification of the metal component of phenyl mercuric acetate, as well as degradation of its aromatic moiety.

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