Biotransformation of 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene by Pseudomonas sp. TNT3 isolated from Deception Island, Antarctica

Environ Pollut. 2020 Jul;262:113922. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.113922. Epub 2020 Jan 7.


2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a nitroaromatic explosive, highly toxic and mutagenic for organisms. In this study, we report for the first time the screening and isolation of TNT-degrading bacteria from Antarctic environmental samples with potential use as bioremediation agents. Ten TNT-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from Deception Island. Among them, Pseudomonas sp. TNT3 was selected as the best candidate since it showed the highest tolerance, growth, and TNT biotransformation capabilities. Our results showed that TNT biotransformation involves the reduction of the nitro groups. Additionally, Pseudomonas sp. TNT3 was capable of transforming 100 mg/L TNT within 48 h at 28 °C, showing higher biotransformation capability than Pseudomonas putida KT2440, a known TNT-degrading bacterium. Functional annotation of Pseudomonas sp. TNT3 genome revealed a versatile set of molecular functions involved in xenobiotic degradation pathways. Two putative xenobiotic reductases (XenA_TNT3 and XenB_TNT3) were identified by means of homology searches and phylogenetic relationships. These enzymes were also characterized at molecular level using homology modelling and molecular dynamics simulations. Both enzymes share different levels of sequence similarity with other previously described TNT-degrading enzymes and with their closest potential homologues in databases.

MeSH terms

  • Antarctic Regions
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biotransformation
  • Islands
  • Phylogeny
  • Pseudomonas
  • Trinitrotoluene*


  • Trinitrotoluene