Summary: The ability of selected bacterial cultures to synthesize ethylene during growth in nutrient broth supplemented with methionine or 2-oxo-4-methylthiobutyric acid (KMBA) was examined. Although most cultures transformed KMBA into ethylene, only those of SPAO and were able to convert exogenously added methionine to ethylene. In chemically defined media, SPAO produced the highest amounts of ethylene from methionine and KMBA. This capability was affected by the nature of the carbon source and the type and amount of nitrogen source used for growth. When glutamate was used as sole source of carbon and nitrogen for growth, the activity of the ethylenogenic enzymes was reduced to 25% of that observed with cultures grown with glucose and NHCl. Neither methionine nor KMBA significantly affected the ethylenogenic capacity of SPAO. Menadione and paraquat, compounds that generate superoxide radicals, stimulated ethylene synthesis by harvested cells, but not by cell-free extracts of SPAO. In addition, cells of , which produced no ethylene in culture in the presence of exogenously added KMBA, yet possessed the necessary enzymes in an active form, were able to synthesize ethylene from KMBA when incubated with menadione or paraquat.


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