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Crit Rev Biotechnol. 1994;14(1):29-73.

Biotransformations catalyzed by the genus Rhodococcus.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Glasgow, U.K.


Rhodococci display a diverse range of metabolic capabilities and they are a ubiquitous feature of many environments. They are able to degrade short-chain, long-chain, and halogenated hydrocarbons, and numerous aromatic compounds, including halogenated and other substituted aromatics, heteroaromatics, hydroaromatics, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They possess a wide variety of pathways for degrading and modifying aromatic compounds, including dioxygenase and monooxygenase ring attack, and cleavage of catechol by both ortho- and meta-routes, and some strains possess a modified 3-oxoadipate pathway. Biotransformations catalyzed by rhodococci include steroid modification, enantioselective synthesis, and the transformation of nitriles to amides and acids. Tolerance of rhodococci to starvation, their frequent lack of catabolite repression, and their environmental persistence make them excellent candidates for bioremediation treatments. Some strains can produce poly(3-hydroxyalkanoate)s, others can accumulate cesium, and still others are the source of useful enzymes such as phenylalanine dehydrogenase and endoglycosidases. Other actual or potential applications of rhodococci include desulfurization of coal, bioleaching, use of their surfactants in enhancement of oil recovery and as industrial dispersants, and the construction of biosensors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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