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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Feb;69(2):938-44.

Desulfonation and degradation of the disulfodiphenylethercarboxylates from linear alkyldiphenyletherdisulfonate surfactants.

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Department of Biology, The University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Earlier work showed that the biodegradation of a commercial linear monoalkyldiphenyletherdisulfonate surfactant as a carbon source for microbial growth leads to the quantitative formation of corresponding disulfodiphenylether carboxylates (DSDPECs), which were not degraded. alpha-Proteobacterium strain DS-1 (DSM 13023) catalyzes these reactions. These DSDPECs have now been characterized by high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled via an electrospray interface to a mass spectrometer. DSDPECs were a complex mixture of compounds which indicated catabolism via omega-oxygenation and beta-oxidation. DSDPECs were subject to quantitative desulfonation in bacterial cultures in which they served as sole sulfur sources for bacterial growth. On average, one sulfonate group per DSDPEC species was removed, and the organism responsible for this desulfonation was isolated and identified as Rhodococcus opacus ISO-5. The products were largely monosulfodiphenylether carboxylate-phenols (MSDPEC-phenols). MSDPEC-phenols were subject to extensive dissimilation by bacteria from activated sludge.

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