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Biodegradation of alachlor by soil streptomycetes

Sette, L.D., Costa, L.A.M.A. da, Marsaioli, A.J., Manfio, G.P.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2004 v.64 no.5 pp. 712-717
Streptomyces, soil bacteria, herbicides, Brazil
Streptomycetes resistant to the herbicide alachlor [2-chloro-2,6-diethyl-N-(methoxymethyl) acetanilide] were used in degradation assays to characterize the products of alachlor biodegradation. Of six strains tested, Streptomyces sp. LS166, LS177, and LS182 were able to grow at an alachlor concentration of 144 mg l-1 and degraded approximately 60-75% of the alachlor in 14 days, as evaluated by high performance liquid chromatography. The alachlor biodegradation products were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry based on mass spectral data and fragmentation patterns. All compounds detected in these assays were similar for all streptomycetes strains tested, and involved dechlorination with subsequent N-dealkylation and cyclization of the remaining N-substituent with one of the ethyl groups to produce indole and quinoline derivatives. The enzymatic pathway used by Streptomyces sp. LS182 did not generate DEA (2,6-diethylaniline), a carcinogenic derivative of alachlor reported in other studies. Given the high degradation rates observed here, the Streptomyces strains tested may be useful in the degradation/detoxification processes of alachlor.