1887

Abstract

Application of the non-toxic 3,3′-thiodipropionic acid (TDP) and 3,3′-dithiodipropionic acid (DTDP) as precursors for the microbial production of polythioesters (PTEs), a class of biologically persistent biopolymers containing sulphur in the backbone, was successfully established previously. However, synthesis of PTEs containing 4-mercaptobutyrate (4MB) as building blocks could not be achieved. The very harmful 4MB is not used as a PTE precursor or as the carbon source for growth by any known strain. As a promising alternative, the harmless oxidized disulfide of two molecules of 4MB, 4,4′-dithiodibutyric acid (DTDB), was employed for enrichments of bacterial strains capable of biodegradation. Investigation of novel precursor substrates for PTEs and comparison of respective strains growing on TDP, DTDP and DTDB as sole carbon source was accomplished. A broad variety of bacteria capable of using one of these organic sulphur compounds were isolated and compared. TDP and DTDP were degraded by several strains belonging to different genera, whereas all DTDB-utilizing strains were affiliated to the species . Transposon mutagenesis of strain MI2 and screening of 7500 resulting mutants yielded three mutants exhibiting impaired growth on DTDB. Physiological studies revealed production of volatile hydrogen sulphide and accumulation of significant amounts of 4MB, 4-oxo-4-sulphanylbutanoic acid and succinic acid in the culture supernatants. Based on this knowledge, a putative pathway for degradation of DTDB was proposed: DTDB could be cleaved into two molecules of 4MB, followed by an oxidation yielding 4-oxo-4-sulphanylbutanoic acid. A putative desulphydrase probably catalyses the abstraction of sulphur, thereby generating succinic acid and hydrogen sulphide.

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2010-04-01
2019-10-18
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