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Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 148–154 | Cite as

Anaerobic degradation of trans-cinnamate and ω-phenylalkane carboxylic acids by the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris: evidence for a β-oxidation mechanism

  • Douglas J. E. Elder
  • Philip Morgan
  • David J. Kelly
Original Papers

Abstract

The mechanism responsible for the initial steps in the anaerobic degradation of trans-cinnamate and ω-phenylalkane carboxylates by the purple non-sulphur photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris was investigated. Phenylacetate did not support growth and there was a marked CO2 dependence for growth on acids with greater side-chain lengths. Here, CO2 was presumably acting as a redox sink for the disposal of excess reducing equivalents. Growth on benzoate did not require the addition of exogenous CO2. Aromatic acids with an odd number of side-chain carbon atoms (3-phenylpropionate, 5-phenylvalerate, 7-phenylheptanoate) gave greater apparent molar growth yields than those with an even number of side-chain carbon atoms (4-phenylbutyrate, 6-phenylhexanoate, 8-phenyloctanoate). HPLC analysis revealed that phenylacetate accumulated and persisted in the culture medium during growth on these latter compounds. Cinnamate and benzoate transiently accumulated in the culture medium during growth on 3-phenylpropionate, and benzoate alone accumulated transiently during the course of trans-cinnamate degradation. The transient accumulation of 4-phenyl-2-butenoic acid occurred during growth on 4-phenylbutyrate, and phenylacetate accumulated to a 1:1 molar stoichiometry with the initial 4-phenylbutyrate concentration. It is proposed that the initial steps in the anaerobic degradation of trans-cinnamate and the group of acids from 3-phenylpropionate to 8-phenyloctanoate involves β-oxidation of the side-chain.

Key words

Anaerobic degradation Aromatic compounds Rhodopseudomonas palustris ω-Phenylalkane carboxylic acids trans-cinnamic acid 3-Phenylpropionic acid 4-Phenylbutyric acid β-Oxidation 

Abbreviation

3-PP

3-phenylpropionic acid

4-PB

4-phenylbutyric acid

5-PV

5-phenylvaleric acid

6-PH

6-phenylhexanoic acid

7-PH

7-phenylheptanoic acid

8-PO

8-phenyloctanoic acid

4-P2B

4-phenyl-2-butenoic acid

GC/MS

Gas chromatography/Mass spectrometry

HPLC

High-pressure liquid chromatography

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas J. E. Elder
    • 1
  • Philip Morgan
    • 2
  • David J. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Hill Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Firth CourtUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Sittingbourne Research CentreShell Research LimitedSittingbourneUK

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