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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2005 Dec;69(3):321-5. Epub 2005 Nov 15.

TNT and nitroaromatic compounds are chemoattractants for Burkholderia cepacia R34 and Burkholderia sp. strain DNT.

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  • 1Departments of Chemical Engineering and Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


Nitroaromatic compounds are toxic and potential carcinogens. In this study, a drop assay was used to detect chemotaxis toward nitroaromatic compounds for wild-type Burkholderia cepacia R34, wild-type Burkholderia sp. strain DNT, and a 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT) dioxygenase mutant strain (S5). The three strains are chemotactic toward 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 2,3-DNT, 2,4-DNT, 2,5-DNT, 2-nitrotoluene (NT), 4NT, and 4-methyl-5-nitrocatechol (4M5NC), but not toward 2,6-DNT. Of these, only 2,4-DNT is a carbon and energy source for B. cepacia R34 and Burkholderia sp. strain DNT, and 4M5NC is an intermediate in the 2,4-DNT degradation pathway. It was determined that the 2,4-DNT dioxygenase genes are not required for the chemotaxis for these nitroaromatic compounds because the DNT DDO mutant S5 has a chemotactic response toward 2,4-DNT although 2,4-DNT is not metabolized by S5; hence, 2,4-DNT itself is the chemoattractant. This is the first report of chemotaxis toward TNT, 2,3-DNT, 2,4-DNT, 2,5-DNT, 2NT, 4NT, and 4M5NC.

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