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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Feb 20;314(4):957-63.

Anaerobic transformation of 2,4,6-TNT by bovine ruminal microbes.

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  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Degradation of TNT by bovine rumen fluid, a novel source of anaerobic microbes, was investigated. Whole rumen fluid contents were spiked with TNT and incubated for a 24h time period. Supernatant samples taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, and 24h were analyzed by reverse-phase HPLC with diode array detection. Within 1h, TNT was not detectable and reduction products of TNT including 2-hydroxyl-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene, 4-hydroxylamino-2,6-dinitrotoluene, and 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene were present with smaller amounts of diamino-nitrotoluenes. Within 2h, only the diamino and dihydroxyamino-nitrotoluene products remained. After 4h, 2,4-diamino-6-nitrotoluene and 2,4-dihydroxyamino-6-nitrotoluene were the only known molecular species left. At 24h known UV absorbing metabolites were no longer detected, suggesting further transformation such as complete reduction to triaminotoluene or destruction of the aromatic ring of TNT may have occurred. TNT was not transformed at 24h in autoclaved and buffered controls. This study presents the first direct evidence of biodegradation of TNT by ruminal microbes.

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