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Biodegradation of phenols by the alga Ochromonas danica.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/1996
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Journal number4
Volume62
Number of pages9
Pages1265-1273
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The eukaryotic alga Ochromonas danica, a nutritionally versatile, mixotrophic chrysophyte, grew on phenol as the sole carbon source in axenic culture and removed the phenol carbon from the growth medium, Respirometric studies confirmed that the enzymes involved in phenol catabolism were inducible and that the alga oxidized phenol; the amount of oxygen consumed per mole of oxidized substrate was approximately 65% of the theoretical value. [U-C-14]phenol was completely mineralized, with 65% of the C-14 label appearing as (CO2)-C-14, approximately 15% remaining in the aqueous medium, and the rest accounted for in the biomass. Analysis of the biomass showed that C-14 label had been incorporated into the protein, nucleic acid, and lipid fractions; phenol carbon is thus unequivocally assimilated by the alga, Phenol-grown cultures of O. danica converted phenols to the corresponding catechols, which were further metabolized by the meta-cleavage pathway, This surprising result was rigorously confirmed by taking the working stock culture through a variety of procedures to check that it was axenic and repeating the experiments with algal extracts. This is, as far as is known, the first definitive identification of the meta-cleavage pathway for aromatic ring degradation in a eukaryotic alga, though its incidence in other eukaryotes has been (infrequently) suggested.}