Degradation of Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbons by Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b Expressing Soluble Methane Monooxygenase

R. Oldenhuis, Ruud L.J.M. Vink, D. B. Janssen, B. Witholt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

    312 Citations (Scopus)
    29 Downloads (Pure)


    Degradation of trichloroethylene (TCE) by the methanotrophic bacterium Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b was studied by using cells grown in continuous culture. TCE degradation was a strictly cometabolic process, requiring the presence of a cosubstrate, preferably formate, and oxygen. M. trichosporium OB3b cells degraded TCE only when grown under copper limitation and when the soluble methane monooxygenase was derepressed. During TCE degradation, nearly total dechlorination occurred, as indicated by the production of inorganic chloride, and only traces of 2,2,2-trichloroethanol and trichloroacetaldehyde were produced. TCE degradation proceeded according to first-order kinetics from 0.1 to 0.0002 mM TCE with a rate constant of 2.14 ml min-1 mg of cells-1. TCE concentrations above 0.2 mM inhibited degradation in cell suspensions of 0.42 mg of cells ml-1. Other chlorinated aliphatics were also degraded by M. trichosporium OB3b. Dichloromethane, chloroform, 1,1-dichloroethane, and 1,2-dichloroethane were completely degraded, with the release of stoichiometric amounts of chloride. trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, and 1,2-dichloropropane were completely converted, but not all the chloride was released because of the formation of chlorinated intermediates, e.g., trans-2,3-dichlorooxirane, cis-2,3-dichlorooxirane, and 2,3-dichloropropanol, respectively. 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethylene, and 1,3-dichloropropylene were incompletely converted, and the first compound yielded 2,2,2-trichloroethanol as a chlorinated intermediate. The two perchlorinated compounds tested, carbon tetrachloride and tetrachloroethylene, were not converted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1989

    Cite this