Isotope Fractionation Associated with the Biodegradation of 2-and 4-Nitrophenols via Monooxygenation Pathways

Wijker, Reto S.
Kurt, Zöhre
Spain, Jim C.
Bolotin, Jakov
Zeyer, Josef
Hofstetter, Thomas B.
Monooxygenation is an important route of nitroaromatic compound (NAC) biodegradation and it is widely found for cometabolic transformations of NACs and other aromatic pollutants. We investigated the C and N isotope fractionation of nitrophenol monooxygenation to complement the characterization of NAC (bio)degradation pathways by compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA). Because of the large diversity of enzymes catalyzing monooxygenations, we studied the combined C and N isotope fractionation and the corresponding C-13- and N-15-apparent kinetic isotope effects (AKIEs) of four nitrophenol-biodegrading microorganisms (Bacillus spharericus JS905, Pseudomonas sp. 1A, Arthrobacter sp. JS443, Pseudomonas putida B2) in the pH range 6.1-8.6 with resting cells and crude cell extracts. While the extent of C and N isotope fractionation and the AKIE-values varied considerably for the different organisms, the correlated C and N isotope signatures (delta N-15 vs delta C-13) revealed trends, indicative of two distinct monooxygenation pathways involving hydroxy-1,4-benzoquinone or 1,2- and 1,4-benzoquinone intermediates, respectively. The distinction was possible based on larger secondary N-15-AKIEs associated with the benzoquinone pathway. Isotope fractionation was neither masked substantially by nitrophenol speciation nor transport across cell membranes. Only when 4-nitrophenol was biodegraded by Pseudomonas sp. 1A did isotope fractionation become negligible, presumably due to rate-limiting substrate binding steps pertinent to the catalytic cycle of flavin-dependent monooxygenases.


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Citation Formats
R. S. Wijker, Z. Kurt, J. C. Spain, J. Bolotin, J. Zeyer, and T. B. Hofstetter, “Isotope Fractionation Associated with the Biodegradation of 2-and 4-Nitrophenols via Monooxygenation Pathways,” ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, pp. 14185–14193, 2013, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: