SUMMARY: By the application of respirometric techniques, it was found that the α-conidendrin (I)-decomposing agrobacteria included strains which were adaptively or constitutively lignanolytic. The lignans isotaxiresinol (V), iso-olivil (VI), and olivil (VII) were rapidly oxidized by all the bacteria examined. The adaptive organisms showed a time-lag before oxidation of the lignans if they had been grown on a conidendrin-free medium. The lag required for oxygen uptake with α-conidendrin was shorter than that observed for the other lignans. Matairesinol (IV), which differs structurally from α-conidendrin through the lack of the isolignan bond was not attacked by any of the agrobacteria examined. Olivil and iso-olivil were oxidized identically, giving results which indicate that the organisms bring about the isomerization olivil → iso-olivil. α-Conidendrol (II) was indicated by the simultaneous adaptation to be an intermediate in α-conidendrin decomposition. All the bacteria studied possess a constitutive ability to oxidize aromatic aldehydes (vanillin, isovanillin, veratrum-aldehyde, syringaldehyde). By calculation from the total oxygen uptake, and by paper chromatography, it was found that these oxidations gave the corresponding acids. Simultaneously with oxidation to vanillic acid, a small amount of vanillin was reduced to vanillyl alcohol. Coniferyl alcohol was oxidized to ferulic acid.


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