Summary: A yellow Gram-negative rod-shaped organism that could grow with ethanolamine, diethanolamine or triethanolamine as the sole source of carbon and energy was isolated from a laboratory-scale activated-sludge plant. Studies with whole cells and cell-free extracts have enabled the inducible pathways for the degradation of these compounds to be elucidated. Triethanolamine is converted, via triethanolamine -oxide, into diethanolamine and glycolaldehyde; diethanolamine in turn is converted into ethanolamine and glycolaldehyde. Ethanolamine is converted into acetyl units via ethanolamine -phosphate and acetaldehyde. In di- and triethanolamine-grown cells the specific activities of glyoxylate carboligase and tartronic-semialdehyde reductase are comparatively high whilst that of isocitrate lyase is low; this situation is reversed in ethanolamine-grown cells. Triethanolamine-N-oxide dehydroxyethylase appears to be a product-induced enzyme and an inducible transport system may be involved in the uptake of diethanolamine.


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