World journal of microbiology & biotechnology

Biodegradation of drotaverine hydrochloride by free and immobilized cells of Rhodococcus rhodochrous IEGM 608.

PMID 22806740


Drotaverine [1-(3,4-diethoxybenzylidene)-6,7-diethoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline] hydrochloride, an antispasmodic drug derived from benzylisoquinoline was evaluated for its biodegradability using a bacterial strain Rhodococcus rhodochrous IEGM 608. The experiments were performed under aerobic conditions with rhodococci cultures able to degrade drotaverine. In the presence of glucose, the removal efficiency of drotaverine by free Rhodoccocus cells pre-grown with isoquinoline was above 80 % (200 mg/l, initial concentration) after 25 days. Rhodococcus immobilization on hydrophobized sawdust enhanced the biodegradation process, with the most marked drotaverine loss being observed during the first 5 days of fermentation. High metabolic activity of rhodococcal cells towards drotaverine was confirmed respirometrically. GC-MS analysis of transformation products resulting from drotaverine biodegradation revealed 3,4-diethoxybenzoic acid, 3,4-diethoxybenzaldehyde and 3,4-diethoxybenzoic acid ethyl ester which were detected in the culture medium until drotaverine completely disappeared. Based on these major and other minor metabolites, putative pathways for drotaverine biodegradation were proposed. The obtained data broadened the spectrum of organic xenobiotics oxidized by Rhodoccocus bacteria and proved their potential in decontamination of natural ecosystems from pharma pollutants.