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

Phosphonate utilization by bacterial cultures and enrichments from environmental samples.

A selection of axenic microbial strains and a variety of environmental samples were investigated with respect to the utilization of a series of natural and xenobiotic phosphonates as the sole phosphorus source for growth. Phosphonate degradation was observed only with bacteria and not with eucaryotic microorganisms. All representatives of the phosphonates examined supported bacterial growth, with the exception of methylphosphonate diethylester. Yet, distinctly different phosphonate utilization patterns were noted between phosphonate-positive strains. C-P bond cleavage by a photosynthetic bacterium is reported for the first time; growing photoheterotrophically, Rhodobacter capsulatus ATCC 23782 was able to utilize 2-aminoethylphosphonate and alkylphosphonates. Bacteria with the potential to utilize at least one of the phosphonate moieties from the xenobiotic phosphonates Dequest 2010, Dequest 2041, and Dequest 2060 were detected in all environments, with only two exceptions for Dequest 2010. Phosphonate P utilization to an extent of 94 and 97%, for Dequest 2010 and Dequest 2041, respectively, provided evidence that a complete breakdown of these compounds with respect to the C-P bond cleavage can be achieved by some bacteria. The results suggest that phosphonate-utilizing bacteria are ubiquitous, and that selected strains can degrade phosphonates that are more complex than those described previously.[1]


  1. Phosphonate utilization by bacterial cultures and enrichments from environmental samples. Schowanek, D., Verstraete, W. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (1990) [Pubmed]
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