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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Sep 12;309(1):36-43.

Metabolism of butyl benzyl phthalate by Gordonia sp. strain MTCC 4818.

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Department of Microbiology, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India.


The microbial degradative characteristics of butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) were investigated by the Gordonia sp. strain MTCC 4818 isolated from creosote-contaminated soil. The test organism can utilize a number of phthalate esters as sole sources of carbon and energy, where BBP was totally degraded within 4 days under shake culture conditions. High performance liquid chromatography profile of the metabolites isolated from spent culture indicated the accumulation of two major products apart from phthalic acid (PA), which were characterized by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as mono-n-butyl phthalate (MBuP) and monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP). Neither of the metabolites, MBuP, MBzP or PA, supported growth of the test organism, while in resting cell transformation, the monoesters were hydrolyzed to PA to a very minor extent, which was found to be a dead-end product in the degradation process. On the other hand, the test organism grew well on benzyl alcohol and butanol, the hydrolyzed products of BBP. The esterase(s) was found to be inducible in nature and can hydrolyze in vitro the seven different phthalate diesters tested to their corresponding monoesters irrespective of their support to the growth of the test organism.

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