Fermentative and oxidative transformation of ferulate by a facultatively anaerobic bacterium isolated from sewage sludge

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Oct;50(4):1052-7. doi: 10.1128/AEM.50.4.1052-1057.1985.


A facultatively anaerobic, gram-negative, non-sporeforming, motile rod-shaped bacterium was isolated from methanogenic consortia degrading 3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamate (ferulate). Consortia were originally enriched from a laboratory anaerobic digester fed sewage sludge. In the absence of exogenous electron acceptors and with the addition of 0.1% yeast extract, the isolated bacterium transformed ferulate under strictly anaerobic conditions (N2-CO2 gas phase). Ferulate (1.55 mM) was demethoxylated and dehydroxylated with subsequent reduction of the side chain, resulting in production of phenylpropinate and phenylacetate. Under aerobic conditions, the substrate was completely degraded, with transient appearance of caffeate as the first aromatic intermediate and beta-ketoadipate as an aliphatic intermediate. The pure culture has been tentatively assigned to the genus Enterobacter with the type strain DG-6 (ATCC 35929). Tentative pathways for both fermentative and oxidative degradation of ferulate are now proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cinnamates / metabolism*
  • Coumaric Acids / metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Kinetics
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Sewage*


  • Cinnamates
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Sewage
  • ferulic acid