Summary: The transformation of several mono- and dinitroaromatic compounds (tested at 50-200 μ;M) by methanogenic bacteria, sulphate-reducing bacteria and clostridia was studied. Some of the nitroaromatics tested were transformed chemically by 1.5 mM quantities of culture media reducing agents, like cysteine or sulphide. This abiotic reduction occurred at the -nitro-groups preferentially. Nitrophenols, -nitroaniline and -nitrobenzoic acid were completely transformed biologically into the corresponding amino derivatives. The nitroaromatics were transformed by all of the bacterial strains tested. While growing cells of sulphate-reducing bacteria and spp. carried out nitroreduction, methanogen cells lysed in the presence of nitroaromatics. Nevertheless these culture suspensions converted nitroaromatics to the corresponding amino derivatives. This was also confirmed by crude cell extracts of methanogenic bacteria. The rate of nitroreduction by sulphate-reducing bacteria depended on the electron donors supplied and the cell density, with molecular hydrogen being the most effective donor of reducing equivalents. The toxicity of -nitrophenol to some of the organisms tested depended on the concentration of the nitroaromatic compound and the type of organism.


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