Bacterial metabolism of alpha-pinene: pathway from alpha-pinene oxide to acyclic metabolites in Nocardia sp. strain P18.3

J Bacteriol. 1987 Nov;169(11):4972-9. doi: 10.1128/jb.169.11.4972-4979.1987.


Over 20 gram-positive bacteria were isolated by elective culture with (+/-)-alpha-pinene as the sole carbon source. One of these strains, Nocardia sp. strain P18.3, was selected for detailed study. alpha-Pinene-grown cells oxidized, without lag, alpha-pinene, alpha-pinene oxide (epoxide), and the cis and trans isomers of 2-methyl-5-isopropylhexa-2,5-dienal. No other tested terpene was oxidized at a significant rate. alpha-Pinene was not metabolized by cell extracts in the presence or absence of NADH or NADPH. Cell extracts catalyzed a rapid decyclization of alpha-pinene oxide, in the absence of added cofactors, with the formation of cis-2-methyl-5-isopropylhexa-2,5-dienal. Further oxidation of the aldehyde to the corresponding acid occurred in the presence of NAD. Both activities were induced by growth with alpha-pinene. A rapid, nonenzymic transformation of the cis aldehyde into the trans isomer occurred in glycine buffer. The trans isomer was also a substrate for the NAD-linked aldehyde dehydrogenase. The distribution of the alpha-pinene oxide lyase in alpha-pinene-utilizing Pseudomonas spp. was also investigated and was compatible with the two alternative ring-cleavage sequences that have been proposed on the basis of accumulated metabolites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde-Lyases / metabolism*
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Biotransformation
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Kinetics
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Nocardia / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Terpenes / metabolism*


  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • 2-pinene oxide
  • Aldehyde-Lyases
  • alpha-pinene oxide lyase
  • alpha-pinene