Characterization of (R/S)-mecoprop [2-(2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid]-degrading Alcaligenes sp.CS1 and Ralstonia sp. CS2 isolated from agricultural soils

Environ Microbiol. 2001 Apr;3(4):288-93. doi: 10.1046/j.1462-2920.2001.00186.x.


The herbicide mecoprop [2-(2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid] is widely applied to corn fields in order to control broad-leaved weeds. However, it is often detected in groundwater where it can be a persistent contaminant. Two mecoprop-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from agricultural soils through their capability to degrade (R/S)-mecoprop rapidly. 16S rDNA sequencing of the isolates demonstrated that one was closely related to the genera Alcaligenes sp. (designated CS1) and the other to Ralstonia sp. (designated CS2). Additionally, these isolates demonstrated ability to grow on other related herbicides, including 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), MCPA [4-chloro-2-methyl phenoxy acetic acid] and (R/S)-2,4-DP [2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)propionic acid] as sole carbon sources. tfdABC gene-specific probes derived from the 2,4-D-degrading Variovorax paradoxus TV1 were used in hybridization analyses to establish whether tfd-like genes are present in mecoprop-degrading bacteria. Hybridization analysis demonstrated that both Alcaligenes sp. CS1 and Ralstonia sp. CS2 harboured tfdA, tfdB and tfdC genes on plasmids that have approximately > 60% sequence similarity to the tfdA, tfdB and tfdC genes of V. paradoxus. It is therefore likely that tfd-like genes may be involved in the degradation of mecoprop, and we are currently investigating this further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid / metabolism*
  • Alcaligenes / classification
  • Alcaligenes / genetics
  • Alcaligenes / isolation & purification
  • Alcaligenes / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Herbicides / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis
  • Soil Microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Herbicides
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • mecoprop
  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid