Aerobic secondary utilization of a non-growth and inhibitory substrate 2,4,6-trichlorophenol by Sphingopyxis chilensis S37 and Sphingopyxis-like strain S32

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This paper reports 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (246TCP) degradation by Sphingopyxis chilensis S37 and Sphingopyxis chilensis-like strain S32, which were unable to use 246TCP as the sole carbon and energy source. In R2A broth, the strains degraded 246TCP up to 0.5 mM. Results with mixtures of different 246TCP and glucose concentrations in mineral salt media demonstrated dependence on glucose to allow bacterial growth and degradation of 246TCP. Strain S32 degraded halophenol up to 0.2 mM when 5.33 mM glucose was simultaneously added, while strain S37 degraded the compound up to 0.1 mM when 1.33 mM glucose was added. These 246TCP concentrations were lethal for inocula in absence of glucose. Stoichiometric releases of chloride and analysis by HPLC, GC-ECD and GC-MS indicated 246TCP mineralisation by both strains. To our knowledge, this is the first report of bacteria able to mineralize a chlorophenol as a non-growth and inhibitory substrate. The concept of secondary utilization instead of cometabolism is proposed for this activity.

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