Degradation and O-methylation of chlorinated phenolic compounds by Rhodococcus and Mycobacterium strains.

M. M. Häggblom, L. J. Nohynek, M. S. Salkinoja-Salonen

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Three polychlorophenol-degrading Rhodococcus and Mycobacterium strains were isolated independently from soil contaminated with chlorophenol wood preservative and from sludge of a wastewater treatment facility of a kraft pulp bleaching plant. Rhodococcus sp. strain CG-1 and Mycobacterium sp. strain CG-2, isolated from tetrachloroguaiacol enrichment, and Rhodococcus sp. strain CP-2, isolated from pentachlorophenol enrichment, mineralized pentachlorophenol and degraded several other polychlorinated phenols, guaiacols (2-methoxyphenols), and syringols (2,6-dimethoxyphenols) at micromolar concentrations and were sensitive to the toxic effects of pentachlorophenol. All three strains initiated degradation of the chlorophenols by para-hydroxylation, producing chlorinated para-hydroquinones, which were then further degraded. Parallel to degradation, strains CG-1, CG-2, and CP-2 also O-methylated nearly all chlorinated phenols, guaiacols, syringols, and hydroquinones. O-methylation of chlorophenols was a slow reaction compared with degradation. The preferred substrates of the O-methylating enzyme(s) were those with the hydroxyl group flanked by two chlorine substituents. O-methylation was constitutively expressed, whereas degradation of chlorinated phenolic compounds was inducible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3043-3052
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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