Microbiology (Reading, England)

IncP-1β plasmids of Comamonas sp. and Delftia sp. strains isolated from a wastewater treatment plant mediate resistance to and decolorization of the triphenylmethane dye crystal violet.

PMID 22653947


The application of toxic triphenylmethane dyes such as crystal violet (CV) in various industrial processes leads to large amounts of dye-contaminated sludges that need to be detoxified. Specific bacteria residing in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are able to degrade triphenylmethane dyes. The objective of this work was to gain insights into the genetic background of bacterial strains capable of CV degradation. Three bacterial strains isolated from a municipal WWTP harboured IncP-1β plasmids mediating resistance to and decolorization of CV. These isolates were assigned to the genera Comamonas and Delftia. The CV-resistance plasmid pKV29 from Delftia sp. KV29 was completely sequenced. In addition, nucleotide sequences of the accessory regions involved in conferring CV resistance were determined for plasmids pKV11 and pKV36 from the other two isolates. Plasmid pKV29 contains typical IncP-1β backbone modules that are highly similar to those of previously sequenced IncP-1β plasmids that confer antibiotic resistance, degradative capabilities or mercury resistance. The accessory regions located between the conjugative transfer (tra) and mating pair formation modules (trb) of all three plasmids analysed share common modules and include a triphenylmethane reductase gene, tmr, that is responsible for decolorization of CV. Moreover, these accessory regions encode other enzymes that are dispensable for CV degradation and hence are involved in so-far-unknown metabolic pathways. Analysis of plasmid-mediated degradation of CV in Escherichia coli by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-quadrupole-time-of-flight MS revealed that leuco crystal violet was the first degradation product. Michler's ketone and 4-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde appeared as secondary degradation metabolites. Enzymes encoded in the E. coli chromosome seem to be responsible for cleavage of leuco crystal violet. Plasmid-mediated degradation of triphenylmethane dyes such as CV is an option for the biotechnological treatment of sludges contaminated with these dyes.

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Triphenylmethane, 99%