SUMMARY: Eleven strains of were isolated by selective enrichment on 4-nitrotoluene (4NT). They all utilized 4NT, 4-nitrobenzyl alcohol (4NBA) or 4-nitrobenzoate (4NBZate) as sole sources of carbon and nitrogen. One strain, TW3, was used for more detailed studies. 4NT-grown cells of TW3 take up O when incubated in the presence of 4NBA, 4-nitrobenzaldehyde (4NBZ) and 4NBZate. HPLC analysis of culture supernatants showed that 4NBZ and 4NBZate were formed when 4NT-grown cells were incubated with 4NBA, whereas only 4NBZate was found when they were incubated with 4NBZ. Two dehydrogenases were detected in extracts of 4NT-grown cells. 4NBA dehydrogenase could be assayed by a dye-linked assay whereas 4NBZ dehydrogenase activity was linked to NAD reduction. No nitrite was detected in supernatants of 4NBZate-grown cells incubated with 4NBZate but the nitrogen appeared as ammonium. The only aromatic ring-cleavage dioxygenase that was induced during growth on the nitroaromatics was protocatechuate 3,4-dioxygenase. It is proposed that the pathway for 4NT catabolism proceeds via 4NBA, 4NBZ and 4NBZate and ultimately to protocatechuate with release of the nitro group as ammonium.


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