2001 Volume 16 Issue 4 Pages 240-249
A conventional enrichment culture on branched nonylphenol (NP) with diluted nutrient broth as an additional source of organic nutrients yielded a bacterial strain able to degrade branched NP. The isolate (designated YT) was identified as Sphingomonas sp. based on an analysis of its 16S ribosomal RNA genes and cellular lipids. The degradation of NP by strain YT occurred primarily during the exponential phase of cell growth in cultures on a yeast extract-mineral salts medium. The degree of degradation was directly proportional to the amount of yeast extract present in the medium and no significant growth occurred when NP was the sole source of carbon and energy. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of resting cell suspensions incubated with branched NP revealed that the degradation did not yield any metabolites containing aromatic residues but only branched alcohols. When a linear NP was used as the target substrate, GS-MS of the suspensions indicated the appearance of a hydroxylated linear NP as an intermediate during the degradation. Strain YT is expected to attack NP by an initial oxidative cleavage of the phenol ring.