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Anaerobic oxidation of toluene, phenol, and p-cresol by the dissimilatory iron-reducing organism, GS-15

January 1, 1990

The dissimilatory Fe(III) reducer, GS-15, is the first microorganism known to couple the oxidation of aromatic compounds to the reduction of Fe(III) and the first example of a pure culture of any kind known to anaerobically oxidize an aromatic hydrocarbon, toluene. In this study, the metabolism of toluene, phenol, and p-cresol by GS-15 was investigated in more detail. GS-15 grew in an anaerobic medium with toluene as the sole electron donor and Fe(III) oxide as the electron acceptor. Growth coincided with Fe(III) reduction. [ring-14C]toluene was oxidized to 14CO2, and the stoichiometry of 14CO2 production and Fe(III) reduction indicated that GS-15 completely oxidized toluene to carbon dioxide with Fe(III) as the electron acceptor. Magnetite was the primary iron end product during toluene oxidation. Phenol and p-cresol were also completely oxidized to carbon dioxide with Fe(III) as the sole electron acceptor, and GS-15 could obtain energy to support growth by oxidizing either of these compounds as the sole electron donor. p-Hydroxybenzoate was a transitory extracellular intermediate of phenol and p-cresol metabolism but not of toluene metabolism. GS-15 oxidized potential aromatic intermediates in the oxidation of toluene (benzylalcohol and benzaldehyde) and p-cresol (p-hydroxybenzylalcohol and p-hydroxybenzaldehyde). The metabolism described here provides a model for how aromatic hydrocarbons and phenols may be oxidized with the reduction of Fe(III) in contaminated aquifers and petroleum-containing sediments.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1990
Title Anaerobic oxidation of toluene, phenol, and p-cresol by the dissimilatory iron-reducing organism, GS-15
DOI
Authors D. R. Lovley, D.J. Lonergan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Series Number
Index ID 70016359
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program