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Title (Primary) Stable hydrogen and carbon isotope fractionation during microbial toluene degradation: mechanistic and environmental aspects
Author Morasch, B.; Richnow, H.H.; Schink, B.; Meckenstock, R.U.
Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Year 2001
Department ISOBIO
Volume 67
Issue 10
Page From 4842
Page To 4849
Language englisch
Keywords chromatography mass-spectrometry; benzylsuccinate synthase; anaerobic degradation; tetrachloroethene PCE; natural attenuation; Thauera-aromatica; methane oxidation; TOL plasmid; hydrocarbons; metabolism

Primary features of hydrogen and carbon isotope fractionation during toluene degradation were studied to evaluate if analysis of isotope signatures can be used as a tool to monitor biodegradation in contaminated aquifers. D/H hydrogen isotope fractionation during microbial degradation of toluene was measured by gas chromatography. Per-deuterated toluene-d 8 and nonlabeled toluene were supplied in equal amounts as growth substrates, and kinetic isotope fractionation was calculated from the shift of the molar ratios of toluene-d 8 and nondeuterated toluene. The D/H isotope fractionation varied slightly for sulfate-reducing strain TRM1 (slope of curve [b] = −1.219), Desulfobacterium cetonicum(b = −1.196), Thauera aromatica(b = −0.816), and Geobacter metallireducens (b = −1.004) and was greater for the aerobic bacterium Pseudomonas putidamt-2 (b = −2.667). The D/H isotope fractionation was 3 orders of magnitude greater than the13C/12C carbon isotope fractionation reported previously. Hydrogen isotope fractionation with nonlabeled toluene was 1.7 and 6 times less than isotope fractionation with per-deuterated toluene-d 8 and nonlabeled toluene for sulfate-reducing strain TRM1 (b = −0.728) andD. cetonicum (b = −0.198), respectively. Carbon and hydrogen isotope fractionation during toluene degradation by D. cetonicum remained constant over a growth temperature range of 15 to 37°C but varied slightly during degradation by P. putida mt-2, which showed maximum hydrogen isotope fractionation at 20°C (b = −4.086) and minimum fractionation at 35°C (b = −2.138). D/H isotope fractionation was observed only if the deuterium label was located at the methyl group of the toluene molecule which is the site of the initial enzymatic attack on the substrate by the bacterial strains investigated in this study. Use of ring-labeled toluene-d 5 in combination with nondeuterated toluene did not lead to significant D/H isotope fractionation. The activity of the first enzyme in the anaerobic toluene degradation pathway, benzylsuccinate synthase, was measured in cell extracts of D. cetonicum with an initial activity of 3.63 mU (mg of protein)−1. The D/H isotope fractionation (b = −1.580) was 30% greater than that in growth experiments with D. cetonicum. Mass spectroscopic analysis of the product benzylsuccinate showed that H atoms abstracted from the toluene molecules by the enzyme were retained in the same molecules after the product was released. Our findings revealed that the use of deuterium-labeled toluene was appropriate for studying basic features of D/H isotope fractionation. Similar D/H fractionation factors for toluene degradation by anaerobic bacteria, the lack of significant temperature dependence, and the strong fractionation suggest that analysis of D/H fractionation can be used as a sensitive tool to assess degradation activities. Identification of the first enzyme reaction in the pathway as the major fractionating step provides a basis for linking observed isotope fractionation to biochemical reactions.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Morasch, B., Richnow, H.H., Schink, B., Meckenstock, R.U. (2001):
Stable hydrogen and carbon isotope fractionation during microbial toluene degradation: mechanistic and environmental aspects
Appl. Environ. Microb. 67 (10), 4842 - 4849