The Degradation of Nitrate Ester Explosives and TNT by Enterobacter Cloacae PB2
One of the major environmental problems facing the military establishment is the considerable amount of land and water that is contaminated with explosives, particularly TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene). Explosives are found in the environment as a result of waste water produced by manufacturing plants and from the disposal of off-specification material or demilitarisation of out-of-date munitions. Concerns have arisen regarding the toxicity and environmental fate of TNT and nitrate ester explosives such as PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and GTN (glycerol trinitrate) due to their relative toxicity. PETN and GTN are produced in large amounts for use as explosives in blasting caps and detonators and as vasodilators for the control of angina. Nitrate esters are extremely rare in nature and multiply-substituted nitrate esters are not known to occur naturally. The environmental fate of such compounds which are produced in large quantities by the chemical industries, is therefore of considerable interest. In this paper we describe the isolation and characterisation of a strain of Enterobacter cloacae from explosives contaminated soilt that is capable of utilising nitrate ester explosives and TNT as sole nitrogen sources for growth.
KeywordsSole Nitrogen Source Electron Impact Mass Spectrum Nitrate Ester Enzymic Reaction Mixture Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate
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