Alkane biosynthesis in the bacterium Vibrio furnissii M1 involves the synthesis of long-chain alkanes via 1-alcohol. Evidence for this novel pathway are the following. (i) Both even- and odd-carbon-number n-alkanes were produced from glucose, while only even-carbon-number fatty acids were produced in V. furnissii M1. This result cannot be explained by the decarbonylation pathway. (ii) Pentadecane and hexadecane were produced from 1-hexadecanoic acid by membrane fractions of V. furnissii M1, and radioisotope precursor-tracer experiments, in which 1-[1-(14)C]hexadecanoic acid was fed, identified the corresponding alcohol, aldehyde, and alkane derivatives. Since all metabolites maintained the radioisotope label at 1-C, they were produced by a pathway in which the carbon structure was retained, i.e., a reduction pathway. (iii) n-Hexadecane was produced when 1-hexadecanol was fed to membrane preparations.
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