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3 Biotech. 2018 Nov;8(11):455. doi: 10.1007/s13205-018-1479-5. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Aerobic biodegradation of HMX by Planomicrobium flavidum.

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1Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), Timarpur, Delhi, India.
2Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.


In this report, aerobic biodegradation of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine or high melting explosive (HMX), a highly explosive chemical by Planomicrobium flavidum strain S5-TSA-19, an isolate from an explosive-contaminated soil, was investigated. The isolate S5-TSA-19 degraded 70% of HMX in 20 days during which time nitrite ion was produced with the subsequent formation of metabolites, viz. methylenedintramine and N-methyl-N,N'-dinitromethanediamine with molecular weights 136 Da and 149 Da, respectively. The degradation mechanism was found to follow first-order kinetics with a half-life of 11.55 days and formation of above intermediates indicate single nitrite elimination pathway. The proliferation of isolate S5-TSA-19 in the absence of nitramines indicates the cometabolic degradation of HMX. Isolate S5-TSA-19 can thus be used as futuristic microbe for degradation of HMX at explosive-contaminated site.


Aerobic biodegradation; Contaminated sites; HMX; High-performance liquid chromatography; Mass spectroscopy; Planomicrobium flavidum

[Available on 2019-11-01]

Conflict of interest statement

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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