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J Bacteriol. 1985 Sep;163(3):882-9.

Plasmid-mediated mineralization of 4-chlorobiphenyl.


Strains of Alcaligenes and Acinetobacter spp. were isolated from a mixed culture already proven to be proficient at complete mineralization of monohalogenated biphenyls. These strains were shown to harbor a 35 X 10(6)-dalton plasmid mediating a complete pathway for 4-chlorobiphenyl (4CB) oxidation. Subsequent plasmid curing of these bacteria resulted in the abolishment of the 4CB mineralization phenotype and loss of even early 4CB metabolism by Acinetobacter spp. Reestablishment of the Alcaligenes plasmid, denoted pSS50, in the cured Acinetobacter spp. via filter surface mating resulted in the restoration of 4CB mineralization abilities. 4CB mineralization, however, proved to be an unstable characteristic in some subcultured strains. Such loss was not found to coincide with any detectable alteration in plasmid size. Cultures capable of complete mineralization, as well as those limited to partial metabolism of 4CB, produced 4-chlorobenzoate as a metabolite. Demonstration of mineralization of a purified 14C-labeled chlorobenzoate showed it to be a true intermediate in 4CB mineralization. Unlike the mineralization capability, the ability to produce a metabolite has proven to be stable on subculture. These results indicate the occurrence of a novel plasmid, or evolved catabolic plasmid, that mediates the complete mineralization of 4CB.

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