, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 283-290

Identification of metabolites from degradation of naphthalene by a Mycobacterium sp.

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A Mycobacterium sp. isolated from oil-contaminated sediments was previously shown to mineralize 55% of the added naphthalene to carbon dioxide after 7 days of incubation. In this paper, we report the initial steps of the degradation of naphthalene by a Mycobacterium sp. as determined by isolation of metabolites and incorporation of oxygen from 18O2 into the metabolites. The results indicate that naphthalene is initially converted to cis- and trans-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2-dihydronaphthalene by dioxygenase and monooxygenase catalyzed reactions, respectively. The ratio of the cis to trans-naphthalene dihydrodiol isomers was approximately 25:1. Thin layer and high pressure liquid chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques indicated that besides the cis- and trans-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2-dihydronaphthalene, minor amounts of ring cleavage products salicylate and catechol were also formed. Thus the formation of both cis and trans-naphthalene dihydrodiols by the Mycobacterium sp. is unique. The down-stream reactions to ring cleavage products proceed through analogous dioxygenase reactions previously reported for the bacterial degradation of naphthalene.