Dioxygenation is one of the important initial reactions of the bacterial degradation of various aromatic compounds. Aromatic compounds, such as biphenyl, toluene, and naphthalene, are dioxygenated at lateral positions of the aromatic ring resulting in the formation of cis-dihydrodiol. This “normal” type of dioxygenation is termed lateral dioxygenation. On the other hand, the analysis of the bacterial degradation of fluorene (FN) analogues, such as 9-fluorenone, dibenzofuran (DF), carbazole (CAR), and dibenzothiophene (DBT)-sulfone, and DF-related diaryl ether compounds, dibenzo-p-dioxin (DD) and diphenyl ether (DE), revealed the presence of the novel mode of dioxygenation reaction for aromatic nucleus, generally termed angular dioxygenation. In this atypical dioxygenation, the carbon bonded to the carbonyl group in 9-fluorenone or to heteroatoms in the other compounds, and the adjacent carbon in the aromatic ring are both oxidized. Angular dioxygenation of DF, CAR, DBT-sulfone, DD, and DE produces the chemically unstable hemiacetal-like intermediates, which are spontaneously converted to 2,2′,3-trihydroxybiphenyl, 2′-aminobiphenyl-2,3-diol, 2′,3′-dihydroxybiphenyl-2-sulfinate, 2,2′,3-trihydroxydiphenyl ether, and phenol and catechol, respectively. Thus, angular dioxygenation for these compounds results in the cleavage of the three-ring structure or DE structure. The angular dioxygenation product of 9-fluorenone, 1-hydro-1,1a-dihydroxy-9-fluorenone is a chemically stable cis-diol, and is enzymatically transformed to 2′-carboxy-2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl. 2′-Substituted 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyls formed by angular dioxygenation of FN analogues are degraded to monocyclic aromatic compounds by meta cleavage and hydrolysis. Thus, after the novel angular dioxygenation, subsequent degradation pathways are homologous to the corresponding part of that of biphenyl. Compared to the bacterial strains capable of catalyzing lateral dioxygenation, few bacteria having angular dioxygenase have been reported. Only a few degradation pathways, CAR-degradation pathway of Pseudomonas resinovorans strain CA10, DF/DD-degradation pathway of Sphingomonas wittichii strain RW1, DF/DD/FN-degradation pathway of Terrabacter sp. strain DBF63, and carboxylated DE-degradation pathway of P. pseudoalcaligenes strain POB310, have been investigated at the gene level. As a result of the phylogenetic analysis and the comparison of substrate specificity of angular dioxygenase, it is suggested that this atypical mode of dioxygenation is one of the oxygenation reactions originating from the relaxed substrate specificity of the Rieske nonheme iron oxygenase superfamily. Genetic characterization of the degradation pathways of these compounds suggests the possibility that the respective genetic elements constituting the entire catabolic pathway have been recruited from various other bacteria and/or other genetic loci, and that these pathways have not evolutionary matured.
Several facultative anaerobes tolerant to high levels of chromate (>400μg/ml) were isolated from tannery effluents. These isolates displayed varying degrees of Cr(VI) reduction under aerobic and anaerobic conditions at room temperature (24±2°C). Interestingly, eight isolates were efficient in reducing 70% Cr(VI) anaerobically. This includes 5 isolates of genus Aerococcus, two isolates of Micrococcus and single isolate of genus Aeromonas. These isolates were subjected to further characterization for possible use in Cr(VI) detoxification of industrial wastes. This is the first report of Aerococcus sp. capable of Cr(VI) reduction >70% anaerobically. These bacteria were further checked for tolerance to a variety of other heavy metals. Our study indicates the possible use of these bacteria in environmental clean up.
Numbers of Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, a major butyrate-producing bacterium in the rumen, in feces of dogs and cats were estimated by competitive PCR. The type IIb of B. fibrisolvens, which produces much more lactate than butyrate, was detected at the levels (cells per g of feces dry weight) of 2.4×103–9.0×105 for dogs and 1.7×104–6.2×105 for cats. However, the type I that produces much more butyrate than the type IIb was not detected in cat or dog feces (less than 6.0×104 cells per g of feces dry weight). Butyrate production by B. fibrisolvens type IIb in feces was estimated to be at most 30% of the butyrate production by mixed fecal microbes, which suggested that more butyrate is produced by microbes other than B. fibrisolvens in the intestines. Addition of B. fibrisolvens ATCC19171 (type I) to a culture of mixed fecal microbes increased butyrate production, and OB156 (type IIb) increased lactate production. When both the types were added, both the products were increased. Thus, introduction of both the types of B. fibrisolvens as a probiotic may increase butyrate and lactate production in the large intestine, which is possibly beneficial for the maintenance or improvement of the health of dogs and cats.
Attempts were made to separate and characterize cellulose-binding proteins (CBPs) from both the culture supernatant and cell lysate of Eubacterium cellulosolvens 5. Once the CBPs were bound to Avicel cellulose, they were then effectively eluted with the solution containing 3.2 or 5% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), but not eluted with the solution containing various kinds of carbohydrates and reagents. Namely, CBPs in both the culture supernatant and cell lysate of the bacterium bound tightly and strongly to cellulose. The SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of the eluted CBPs indicated that the CBPs contained the two major proteins having the molecular weights of approximately 160 and 84 kilodaltons (kDa) and one sub-major protein having a molecular weight of approximately 140 kDa. Zymogram analysis after the SDS-PAGE of the eluted CBPs showed that two proteins exhibited the highest levels of carboxymethyl cellulase (CMCase) activity corresponding to the molecular weights of approximately 160 and 90 kDa. A major protein having the molecular weight of approximately 160 kDa exhibited a distinct CMCase activity and was designated as CBPE1. Western immunoblot analysis indicated that the proteins prepared from 16 representative strains of rumen bacteria did not cross-react with rabbit antiserum raised against CBPE1. Thus, CBPE1 may be a unique CBP that plays an important role in the adhesion of the bacterium to cellulose.