SUMMARY: There is evidence that oxidation of -cresol by proceeds through 3-methylcatechol and 2-hydroxy-6-oxohepta-2,4-dienoic acid. 3-Methylcatechol has been characterized as a metabolite in growing cultures, and is oxidized by cells or cell extracts obtained from cultures grown on -cresol but not by those grown on glucose. The rates of dissimilation of 2-hydroxy-6-oxohepta-2,4-dienoic acid are in excess of its rates of formation from 3-methylcatechol by extracts of cells. The catechol 2,3-oxygenase is formed in response to a variety of inducers and will cleave the ring of catechol and 4-methylcatechol also. The low specificity of the 2,3-oxygenase and earlier enzymic activities (hydroxylases), to both inducers and substrates, is discussed.


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