SUMMARY: NMR has been used to observe metabolism of exogenously supplied methanol by suspensions of OB3b grown under a variety of conditions. Formaldehyde, formate and bicarbonate ions were the only metabolites of methanol to be detected. Accumulation of formaldehyde was observed only with suspensions grown under conditions which yield particulate, membrane-bound, methane mono-oxygenase (MMO). Ethyne abolished MMO activity, partially inhibited methanol oxidation in whole organisms, and prevented growth of the organism on methanol (1%, v/v) in batch culture. Oxidation of ethanol, a substrate of methanol dehydrogenase, was not affected by ethyne. Ethyne caused accumulation of formaldehyde in all suspensions of the organism incubated with methanol, although oxidation of exogenously added formaldehyde was not affected. These observations are consistent with the proposal that in OB3b both MMO and methanol dehydrogenase oxidize exogenously supplied methanol and suggest that the further oxidation of formaldehyde is stimulated by the consumption of reducing equivalents by MMO.


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