Meta-analysis of RDX biotransformation rate by bacteria and fungi

Pamela L. Sheehan, Ratchell Sadovnik, Jerome J. Kukor, Joan W. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Royal Demolition Explosive (RDX; hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) is a highly oxidized explosive compound commonly used in military and industrial operations. RDX is known to cause neurological dysfunction in exposed human subjects. Several bacterial and fungal species have the metabolic capability to transform RDX into less toxic, non-cyclic and de-nitrated compounds. Although the biodegradation pathways used by bacteria and fungi to transform RDX are well studied, far less is known about the kinetics. This meta-analysis uses published data from 46 independent research studies in 31 publications to calculate first-order rate coefficients (k) and half-life (t1/2) values as common metrics for the comparison of RDX degradation rates by three groups of microorganisms: aerobic bacteria; anaerobic bacteria and aerobic fungi. Relative degradation rates are statistically fastest for aerobic bacteria and slowest for fungi among the three groups. This analysis is the first attempt to characterize and compare RDX degradation kinetics by bacteria and fungi using a meta-analytical approach. Meta-analysis offers a useful method for comparing findings from a large and diverse body of published literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104814
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
StatePublished - Jan 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Biomaterials
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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