Poly-β-hydroxyalkanoates consumption during degradation of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol by Sphingopyxis chilensis S37

F. A. Godoy, M. Bunster, V. Matus, C. Aranda, B. González, M. A. Martínez

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17 Scopus citations


Aims: To analyse the possible effect of poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) consumption on 2,4,6-trichloro phenol (2,4,6-TCP) degradation during starvation by Sphingopyxis chilensis S37 strain, which stores PHAs and degrades 2,4,6-TCP. Methods and Results: The strain was inoculated in saline solution supplemented with 2,4,6-TCP (25-400 μM). Chlorophenol degradation was followed both spectrophotometrically and by chlorine released; viable bacterial counts were also determined. Cells starved for 24, 48 or 72 h were incubated with 25 μM of 2,4,6-TCP and PHA in cells investigated by spectrofluorimetric and flow cytometry. Results demonstrated that starvation decreased the ability to degrade 2,4,6-TCP. After 72 h of starvation, degradation of 2,4,6-TCP decreased to less than 10% and the relative PHA content diminished to ca 50% during the first 24 h. Conclusion: Utilization of PHA may be an important factor for the degradation of toxic compounds, such as 2,4,6-TCP, in bacterial strains unable to use this toxic compound as carbon and energy source. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is the first study describing a relationship between intracellular PHA consumption and 2,4,6-TCP degradation. Therefore, PHAs provides an endogenous carbon and energy source under starvation and can play a significant role in the degradation of toxic compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • 2,4,6-trichlorophenol degradation
  • Poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate
  • Sphingopyxis chilensis
  • Starvation


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