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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Apr 9;316(3):816-21.

Chemotaxis-mediated biodegradation of cyclic nitramine explosives RDX, HMX, and CL-20 by Clostridium sp. EDB2.

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  • 1Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, 6100 Royalmount Avenue, Montreal, Que., Canada H4P 2R2.


Cyclic nitramine explosives, RDX, HMX, and CL-20 are hydrophobic pollutants with very little aqueous solubility. In sediment and soil environments, they are often attached to solid surfaces and/or trapped in pores and distribute heterogeneously in aqueous environments. For efficient bioremediation of these explosives, the microorganism(s) must access them by chemotaxis ability. In the present study, we isolated an obligate anaerobic bacterium Clostridium sp. strain EDB2 from a marine sediment. Strain EDB2, motile with numerous peritrichous flagella, demonstrated chemotactic response towards RDX, HMX, CL-20, and NO(2)(-). The three explosives were biotransformed by strain EDB2 via N-denitration with concomitant release of NO(2)(-). Biotransformation rates of RDX, HMX, and CL-20 by the resting cells of strain EDB2 were 1.8+/-0.2, 1.1+/-0.1, and 2.6+/-0.2nmol h(-1)mgwet biomass(-1) (mean+/-SD; n=3), respectively. We found that commonly seen RDX metabolites such as TNX, methylenedinitramine, and 4-nitro-2,4-diazabutanal neither produced NO(2)(-) during reaction with strain EDB2 nor they elicited chemotaxis response in strain EDB2. The above data suggested that NO(2)(-) released from explosives during their biotransformation might have elicited chemotaxis response in the bacterium. Biodegradation and chemotactic ability of strain EDB2 renders it useful in accelerating the bioremediation of explosives under in situ conditions.

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