Escherichia coli K12 grows on 2-phenylethylamine as sole carbon and energy source by converting it, via phenylacetaldehyde, to phenylacetic acid. Phenylacetaldehyde was formed by the action of an inducible amine oxidase and catalase activity was increased sixfold, presumably to ensure removal of the H202 that was expected to be a product of the amine oxidation. The phenylacetaldehyde was oxidized to phenylacetic acid by an inducible NAD+-dependent dehydrogenase. Mutants defective in phenylacetaldehyde dehydrogenase cannot grow on 2-phenylethylamine as carbon and energy source but can still use it as a nitrogen source.


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