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Growth of Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1T on n-alkanes with chlorate as electron acceptor


Microbial (per)chlorate reduction is a unique process in which molecular oxygen is formed during the dismutation of chlorite. The oxygen thus formed may be used to degrade hydrocarbons by means of oxygenases under seemingly anoxic conditions. Up to now, no bacterium has been described that grows on aliphatic hydrocarbons with chlorate. Here, we report that Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1T grows on n-alkanes (ranging from C7 until C12) with chlorate as electron acceptor. Strain AW-1T also grows on the intermediates of the presumed n-alkane degradation pathway. The specific growth rates on n-decane and chlorate and n-decane and oxygen were 0.5 ± 0.1 and 0.4 ± 0.02 day−1, respectively. The key enzymes chlorate reductase and chlorite dismutase were assayed and found to be present. The oxygen-dependent alkane oxidation was demonstrated in whole-cell suspensions. The strain degrades n-alkanes with oxygen and chlorate but not with nitrate, thus suggesting that the strain employs oxygenase-dependent pathways for the breakdown of n-alkanes.

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We thank the Dutch Center for Soil Quality Management and Knowledge Transfer (SKB) The Netherlands, the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK) The Netherlands, European Commission BIOTOOL project (GOCE 003998), and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) for providing funds for the present study. We thank Willem van Berkel and Hauke Smidt for expert advice and Wim Roelofsen and Silke Kahl for excellent technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Alfons J. M. Stams.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Mehboob, F., Junca, H., Schraa, G. et al. Growth of Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1T on n-alkanes with chlorate as electron acceptor. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 83, 739–747 (2009).

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  • n-Alkane oxidation
  • Chlorate reduction
  • Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1T