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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Apr;62(4):1214-9.

Degradation of pentaerythritol tetranitrate by Enterobacter cloacae PB2.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


A mixed microbial culture capable of metabolizing the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) was obtained from soil enrichments under aerobic and nitrogen-limiting conditions. A strain of Enterobacter cloacae, designated PB2, was isolated from this culture and was found to use PETN as a sole source of nitrogen for growth. Growth yields suggested that 2 to 3 mol of nitrogen was utilized per mol of PETN. The metabolites pentaerythritol dinitrate, 3-hydroxy-2,2-bis-[(nitrooxy)methyl]propanal, and 2,2-bis-[(nitrooxy)methyl]-propanedial were identified by mass spectrometry and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance. An NADPH-dependent PETN reductase was isolated from cell extracts and shown to liberate nitrite from PETN, producing pentaerythritol tri- and dinitrates which were identified by mass spectrometry. PETN reductase was purified to apparent homogeneity by ion-exchange and affinity chromatography. The purified enzyme was found to be a monomeric flavoprotein with a M(r) of approximately 40,000, binding flavin mononucleotide noncovalently.

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