, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 19–36 | Cite as

A mechanistic perspective on bacterial metabolism of chlorinated methanes

  • Lawrence P. Wackett
  • Michael S. P. Logan
  • Frank A. Blocki
  • Cai Bao-li
Focus Section: Microbial Metabolism of C1-Pollutants


Chlorinated methanes are important environmental pollutants, which can be metabolized by bacteria. The biotransformation of chlorinated methanes by bacteria has been shown to be due either to gratuitous metabolism (cometabolism) or their use as a source of carbon and energy. The reactions which result in carbon-halogen bond cleavage include substitutive, reductive, oxygenative, and gem-elimination mechanisms. Certain methylotrophic bacteria can use dichloromethane as a source of carbon and energy. Dichloromethane dehalogenase catalyzes the first substitutive reaction in this metabolism. The enzyme shows a 1010-fold rate enhancement over the reaction of the bisulfide anion with dichloromethane in water. Pseudomonas putida G786 synthesizes cytochrome P-450CAM which catalyzes the gratuitous reduction of chlorinated methanes. These studies with purified enzymes are beginning to reveal more detailed mechanistic features of bacterial chlorinated methane metabolism.

Key words

chloromethanes chlorofluoromethanes mechanisms bacteria dehalogenation biodegradation 



deoxyribonucleic acid


catalytic first order rate constant for an enzyme catalyzed reaction


Michaelis constant for an enzyme catalyzed reaction


modified neglect of diatomic overlap


pattern induced multialignment


dichloromethane dehalogenase


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence P. Wackett
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael S. P. Logan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank A. Blocki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cai Bao-li
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Studies in Biological Process TechnologyUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular BiologyNankai UniversityTianjinPeople's Republic of China

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