Summary: Strains of two bacteria, a Pseudomonas and an Achromobacter, which grow with toluene, benzene or certain other related aromatic compounds as sole carbon source were isolated from soil. The use of aromatic compounds by these bacteria was an induced phenomenon. Toluene-grown organisms oxidized without lag toluene, benzene, catechol, 3-methyl-catechol, benzyl alcohol and, more slowly, - and -cresol, but not benzaldehyde or benzoic acid. 3-Methylcatechol, acetic acid, pyruvic acid, and a yellow ether-soluble acidic substance which was colourless in acid solution, were detected in toluene-oxidizing cultures. Acetic and pyruvic acids were also formed during the bacterial oxidation of 3-methylcatechol. 3-Methylcatechol is probably an early stage in the bacterial metabolism of toluene; benzaldehyde and benzoic acid seem not to be intermediates in this metabolism.


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