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Nat Biotechnol. 1996 Mar;14(3):320-2.

Metabolism of nitrate esters by a consortium of two bacteria.

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Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants.


The products of condensation of organic alcohols and nitric acid are nitrate esters with the general structure C-O-NO2. These products are widely employed as vasodilators and explosives, and are true xenobiotic compounds, as they do not occur in nature. We have isolated and characterized a consortium of two microorganisms, Arthrobacter ilicis and Agrobacterium radiobacter, that mineralized recalcitrant ethylene glycol dinitrate. The Arthrobacter strain was the actual degrading microorganism, although the second microbe facilitated mineralization. The biodegradation of ethylene glycol dinitrate by A. ilicis involved the progressive elimination of the nitro groups from the organic molecule to generate ethylene glycol, which was then mineralized. Waters polluted with ethylene glycol dinitrate have been shown amenable to biological treatment in a pilot plant with wastewaters generated during the synthesis of the chemical in a factory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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