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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1992 Sep;9(1):29-71.

Microbial breakdown of halogenated aromatic pesticides and related compounds.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, NY.


Considerable progress has been made in the last few years in understanding the mechanisms of microbial degradation of halogenated aromatic compounds. Much is already known about the degradation mechanisms under aerobic conditions, and metabolism under anaerobiosis has lately received increasing attention. The removal of the halogen substituent is a key step in degradation of halogenated aromatics. This may occur as an initial step via reductive, hydrolytic or oxygenolytic mechanisms, or after cleavage of the aromatic ring at a later stage of metabolism. In addition to degradation, several biotransformation reactions, such as methylation and polymerization, may take place and produce more toxic or recalcitrant metabolites. Studies with pure bacterial and fungal cultures have given detailed information on the biodegradation pathways of several halogenated aromatic compounds. Several of the key enzymes have been purified or studied in cell extracts, and there is an increasing understanding of the organization and regulation of the genes involved in haloaromatic degradation. This review will focus on the biodegradation and biotransformation pathways that have been established for halogenated phenols, phenoxyalkanoic acids, benzoic acids, benzenes, anilines and structurally related halogenated aromatic pesticides. There is a growing interest in developing microbiological methods for clean-up of soil and water contaminated with halogenated aromatic compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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