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Applied and environmental microbiology

O-Demethylation and successive oxidative dechlorination of methoxychlor by Bradyrhizobium sp. strain 17-4, isolated from river sediment.


PMID 22635993

Abstract

O-Demethylation of insecticide methoxychlor is well known as a phase I metabolic reaction in various eukaryotic organisms. Regarding prokaryotic organisms, however, no individual species involved in such reaction have been specified and characterized so far. Here we successfully isolated a bacterium that mediates oxidative transformation of methoxychlor, including O-demethylation and dechlorination, from river sediment. The isolate was found to be closely related to Bradyrhizobium elkanii at the 16S rRNA gene sequence level (100% identical). However, based on some differences in the physiological properties of this bacterium, we determined that it was actually a different species, Bradyrhizobium sp. strain 17-4. The isolate mediated O-demethylation of methoxychlor to yield a monophenolic derivative [Mono-OH; 1,1,1-trichloro-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)ethane] as the primary degradation product. The chiral high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis revealed that the isolate possesses high enantioselectivity favoring the formation of (S)-Mono-OH (nearly 100%). Accompanied by the sequential O-demethylation to form the bis-phenolic derivative Bis-OH [1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)ethane], oxidative dechlorination of the side chain proceeded, and monophenolic carboxylic acid accumulated, followed by the formation of multiple unidentified polar degradation products. The breakdown proceeded more rapidly when reductively dechlorinated (dichloro-form) methoxychlor was applied as the initial substrate. The resultant carboxylic acids and polar degradation products are likely further biodegraded by ubiquitous bacteria. The isolate possibly plays an important role for complete degradation (mineralization) of methoxychlor by providing the readily biodegradable substrates.