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Open Access Isolation of hexachlorocyclohexane-degrading Sphingomonas sp. by dehalogenase assay and characterization of genes involved in γ-HCH degradation

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Abstract Aim: 

To screen and identify bacteria from contaminated soil samples which can degrade hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH)-isomers based on dechlorinase enzyme activity and characterize genes and metabolites. Methods and Results: 

Dechlorinase activity assays were used to screen bacteria from contaminated soil samples for HCH-degrading activity. A bacterium able to grow on α-, β-, γ- and δ-HCH as the sole carbon and energy source was identified. This bacterium was a novel species belonging to the Sphingomonas and harbour linABCDE genes similar to those found in other HCH degraders. γ-Pentachlorocyclohexene 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene and chlorohydroquinone were identified as metabolites. Conclusions: 

The study demonstrates that HCH-degrading bacteria can be identified from large environmental sample-based dehalogenase enzyme assay. This kind of screening is more advantageous compared to selective enrichment as it is specific and rapid and can be performed in a high-throughput manner to screen bacteria for chlorinated compounds. Significance and Impact of the Study: 

The chlorinated pesticide HCH is a persistent and toxic environmental pollutant which needs to be remediated. Isolation of diverse bacterial species capable of degrading all the isomers of HCH will help in large-scale bioremediation in various parts of the world.
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Keywords: HCH; Sphingomonas; degradation; dehalogenase; lin genes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Environmental Biotechnology, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, India 2:  Analytical Chemistry, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, India 3:  Department of Microbiology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India 4:  Environmental Microbiology, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, India

Publication date: 01 April 2008

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