Author(s): Khan F, Vyas B, Pal D, Cameotra SS
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Abstract N-Methyl-4-nitroaniline (MNA) is used as an additive to lower the melting temperature of energetic materials in the synthesis of insensitive explosives. Although the biotransformation of MNA under anaerobic condition has been reported, its aerobic microbial degradation has not been documented yet. A soil microcosms study showed the efficient aerobic degradation of MNA by the inhabitant soil microorganisms. An aerobic bacterium, Pseudomonas sp. strain FK357, able to utilize MNA as the sole carbon, nitrogen, and energy source, was isolated from soil microcosms. HPLC and GC-MS analysis of the samples obtained from growth and resting cell studies showed the formation of 4-nitroaniline (4-NA), 4-aminophenol (4-AP), and 1, 2, 4-benzenetriol (BT) as major metabolic intermediates in the MNA degradation pathway. Enzymatic assay carried out on cell-free lysates of MNA grown cells confirmed N-demethylation reaction is the first step of MNA degradation with the formation of 4-NA and formaldehyde products. Flavin-dependent transformation of 4-NA to 4-AP in cell extracts demonstrated that the second step of MNA degradation is a monooxygenation. Furthermore, conversion of 4-AP to BT by MNA grown cells indicates the involvement of oxidative deamination (release of NH2 substituent) reaction in third step of MNA degradation. Subsequent degradation of BT occurs by the action of benzenetriol 1, 2-dioxygenase as reported for the degradation of 4-nitrophenol. This is the first report on aerobic degradation of MNA by a single bacterium along with elucidation of metabolic pathway.
This article was published in RETRACTED ARTICLE See: Retraction Notice
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology