Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
Abstract The degradation of recalcitrant pollutants in contaminated soils and waters could be facilitated by broadening the degradative capabilities of indigenous microbes by the conjugal transfer of catabolic genes. The feasibility of establishing bacterial populations that degrade phenoxyacetic acid by conjugal transfer of tfdA, the gene encoding 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid/2-oxoglutarate dioxygenase, to phenol-degrading strains of Pseudomonas and Ralstonia was examined. The mobilizable plasmid pKJS32 served as a vector for delivery of tfdA and the regulatory gene, tfdS. Transconjugant strains that degraded phenol by an ortho cleavage of catechol grew well on phenoxyacetic acid while those employing a meta cleavage could only grow on phenoxyacetic acid in the presence of benzoic acid or after a prolonged lag period and the appearance of mutants that had gained catechol 1,2-dioxygenase activities. Thus, an ortho cleavage of catechol was essential for degradation of phenoxyacetic acid, suggesting that a product of the ortho-cleavage pathway, probably cis,cis-muconic acid, is an inducer of tfdA gene expression. Establishment of phenoxyacetic-acid-degrading soil populations by conjugal transfer of tfdA would depend on the presence of phenol-degrading recipients employ- ing an ortho cleavage of catechol.
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