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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reductive debromination of the commercial polybrominated biphenyl mixture firemaster BP6 by anaerobic microorganisms from sediments.

Anaerobic microorganisms eluted from three sediments, one contaminated with polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and two contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, were compared for their ability to debrominate the commercial PBB mixture Firemaster. These microorganisms were incubated with reduced anaerobic mineral medium and noncontaminated sediment amended with Firemaster. Firemaster averages six bromines per biphenyl molecule; four of the bromines are substituted in the meta or para position. The inocula from all three sources were able to debrominate the meta and para positions. Microorganisms from the Pine River (St. Louis, Mich.) contaminated with Firemaster, the Hudson River (Hudson Falls, N.Y.) contaminated with Aroclor 1242, and Silver Lake (Pittsfield, Mass.) contaminated with Aroclor 1260 removed 32, 12, and 3% of the meta plus para bromines, respectively, after 32 weeks of incubation. This suggests that previous environmental exposure to PBBs enhances the debromination capability of the sediment microbial community through selection for different strains of microorganisms. The Pine River inoculum removed an average of 1.25 bromines per biphenyl molecule during a 32-week incubation period, resulting in a mixture potentially more accessible to aerobic degradation processes. No ortho bromine removal was observed. However, when Firemaster was incubated with Hudson River microorganisms that had been repeatedly transferred on a pyruvate medium amended with Aroclor 1242, 17% of the meta and para bromines were removed after 16 weeks of incubation and additional debromination products, including 2-bromobiphenyl and biphenyl, were detected. This suggests the possibility for ortho debromination, since all components of the Firemaster mixture have at least one ortho-substituted bromine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Reductive debromination of the commercial polybrominated biphenyl mixture firemaster BP6 by anaerobic microorganisms from sediments. Morris, P.J., Quensen, J.F., Tiedje, J.M., Boyd, S.A. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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