Author(s): Neilson AH, Allard AS, Hynning PA, Remberger M
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Abstract Metabolically stable enrichment cultures of anaerobic bacteria obtained by elective enrichment of sediment samples from the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia have been used to study the oxidation and reduction of the aldehyde group of various halogenated aromatic aldehydes. During the transformation of 5- and 6-chlorovanillin, 6-bromovanillin, 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, 3,5-dichloro-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, and 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, it was shown that synthesis of the corresponding carboxylic acids, which were the principal metabolites, was invariably accompanied by partial reduction of the aldehyde to a hydroxymethyl group in yields of between 3 and 30\%. Complete reduction to a methyl group was observed with some of the halogenated vanillins, but to an extremely limited extent with the halogenated 4-hydroxybenzaldehydes. One consortium produced both the hydroxymethyl and methyl compounds from both 5- and 6-chlorovanillin: it was therefore assumed that the methyl compound was the ultimate reduction product. On the basis of the kinetics of formation of the metabolites, it was concluded that the oxidation and reduction reactions were mechanistically related. In addition to these oxidations and reductions, dehalogenation was observed with one of the consortia. In contrast to the transformations of 5- and 6-chlorovanillin, which produced chlorinated methylcatechols, the corresponding compounds were not observed with 5- and 6-bromovanillin: the former was debrominated, forming 4-methylcatechol, whereas the latter produced 6-bromovanillyl alcohol without demethylation. Similarly, although 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde formed the chlorinated carboxylic acid and the benzyl alcohol, the 3-bromo compound was debrominated with formation of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and, ultimately, phenol. On prolonged incubation, the halogenated carboxylic acids were generally decarboxylated, so that the final products from these substrates were halogenated catechols or phenols. Reductive processes of the type revealed in this study might therefore plausibly occur in the environment during anaerobic transformation of halogenated aromatic aldehydes containing hydroxyl and/or methoxyl groups.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research