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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 May;66(5):2139-47.

Aerobic degradation of dinitrotoluenes and pathway for bacterial degradation of 2,6-dinitrotoluene.

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  • 1Air Force Research Laboratory, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida 32403-5323, USA.


An oxidative pathway for the mineralization of 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2, 4-DNT) by Burkholderia sp. strain DNT has been reported previously. We report here the isolation of additional strains with the ability to mineralize 2,4-DNT by the same pathway and the isolation and characterization of bacterial strains that mineralize 2, 6-dinitrotoluene (2,6-DNT) by a different pathway. Burkholderia cepacia strain JS850 and Hydrogenophaga palleronii strain JS863 grew on 2,6-DNT as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen. The initial steps in the pathway for degradation of 2,6-DNT were determined by simultaneous induction, enzyme assays, and identification of metabolites through mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance. 2,6-DNT was converted to 3-methyl-4-nitrocatechol by a dioxygenation reaction accompanied by the release of nitrite. 3-Methyl-4-nitrocatechol was the substrate for extradiol ring cleavage yielding 2-hydroxy-5-nitro-6-oxohepta-2,4-dienoic acid, which was converted to 2-hydroxy-5-nitropenta-2,4-dienoic acid. 2, 4-DNT-degrading strains also converted 2,6-DNT to 3-methyl-4-nitrocatechol but did not metabolize the 3-methyl-4-nitrocatechol. Although 2,6-DNT prevented the degradation of 2,4-DNT by 2,4-DNT-degrading strains, the effect was not the result of inhibition of 2,4-DNT dioxygenase by 2,6-DNT or of 4-methyl-5-nitrocatechol monooxygenase by 3-methyl-4-nitrocatechol.

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