Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 223–230 | Cite as

Biodegradation of 1-nitropyrene

  • Michael A. Heitkamp
  • James P. Freeman
  • Dwight W. Miller
  • Carl E. Cerniglia
Original Papers


The metabolism of 14C-labeled 1-nitropyrene in microcosms containing nonsterile estuarine sediments, and in cultures of a Mycobacterium sp. previously isolated from oil-contaminated sediments was investigated. Although mineralization of 1-nitropyrene by pure cultures of the Mycobacterium sp. totaled only 12.3% after 10 days of incubation, over 80% of the ethyl acetate extractable 14C-labeled compounds consisted of 1-nitropyrene metabolites. High pressure liquid chromatographic analysis of 1-nitropyrene degradation products indicated that two major metabolites were formed. They were identified as 1-nitropyrene cis-9,10-and 4,5-dihydrodiols, based on their UV-visible, mass and NMR spectra. Time course studies in microcosms showed that 1-nitropyrene was degraded slowly under aerobic and anaerobic conditions in estuarine sediments. Less than 1% had been converted to 14CO2 after 8 weeks of aerobic incubation. The addition of 1-nitropyrene to anaerobic sediments resulted in no 14CO2 evolution; however, the nitro group of 1-nitropyrene was reduced to form 1-aminopyrene. Although the mineralization of 1-nitropyrene in sediments was slow, the Mycobacterium sp. metabolized 1-nitropyrene in pure culture. This bacterium appears promising for the bioremediation of this ubiquitous pollutant in contaminated waste.

Key words

Biodegradation Nitropolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Aerobic Anaerobic Mycobacterium 1-Nitropyrene cis-Dihydrodiols 



Direct exposure probe


high pressure liquid chromatography


gas chromatography/mass spectrometry


nitropolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


thin-layer chromatography




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Heitkamp
    • 1
  • James P. Freeman
    • 1
  • Dwight W. Miller
    • 1
  • Carl E. Cerniglia
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Toxicological ResearchFood and Drug AdministrationJeffersonUSA

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