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Chemosphere. 2016 Dec;165:173-182. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.08.127. Epub 2016 Sep 17.

Detoxification of hydroxylated polychlorobiphenyls by Sphingomonas sp. strain N-9 isolated from forest soil.

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The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan; Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Technology Research Association for Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Electronic address:


To examine the biodegradation of hydroxylated polychlorobiphenyls (OH-PCBs), we isolated Sphingomonas sp. strain N-9 from forest soil using mineral salt medium containing 4-hydroxy-3-chlorobiphenyl (4OH-3CB) at the concentration of 10 mg/L. Following incubation with strain N-9, the concentration of 4OH-3CB decreased in inverse proportion to strain N-9 proliferation, and it was converted to 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4OH-3CBA) after 1 day. We observed that strain N-9 efficiently degraded lowly chlorinated OH-PCBs (1-4 Cl), while highly chlorinated OH-PCBs (5-6 Cl) were less efficiently transformed. Additionally, strain N-9 degraded PCBs and OH-PCBs with similar efficiencies, and the efficiency of OH-PCB degradation was dependent upon the positional relationships between OH-PCB hydroxyl groups and chlorinated rings. OH-PCB biodegradation may result in highly toxic products, therefore, we evaluated the cytotoxicity of two OH-PCBs [4OH-3CB and 4-hydroxy-3,5-dichlorobiphenyl (4OH-3,5CB)] and their metabolites [4OH-3CBA and 3,5-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4OH-3,5CBA)] using PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells. Our results revealed that both OH-PCBs induced cell membrane damage and caused neuron-like elongations in a dose-dependent manner, while similar results were not observed for their metabolites. These results indicated that strain N-9 can convert OH-PCBs into chloro-hydroxybenzoic acids having lower toxicity.


Biodegradation; Hydroxylated PCBs; PC12 cells; Sphingomonas; Toxicity evaluation

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