Microbial degradation of phloroglucinol and other polyphenolic compounds

J Basic Microbiol. 1994;34(2):123-35. doi: 10.1002/jobm.3620340208.


Biodegradation of phloroglucinol (1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene) and other polyphenolic compounds by microbes may occur by aerobic and anaerobic metabolic pathways. Aerobic microbes may initiate the mineralization of phloroglucinol or other polyphenolics by either a reductive pathway, epoxide formation, or a specific hydroxylating mechanism. Cleavage of the various intermediates of phloroglucinol and polyphenolic degradation may occur by intradiol and extradiol mechanisms. The reductive pathway in contrast to other mechanisms utilized by aerobic microbes, seems both cumbersome and energy wasteful. The degradation of lignin and its associated phenolics follows an enzymatic combustion process which resembles a nonspecific enzyme-catalyzed burning. Anaerobic mineralization of phloroglucinol and its associated polyphenolics by several microbes seems to favour the reductive formation of a dihydrophloroglucinol (1,3-dioxo-5-hydroxycyclohexane), which is cleaved by a specific hydrolase. Mineralization of numerous other polyphenolic compounds by anaerobes seems to utilize phloroglucinol as a central metabolite.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bacteria, Aerobic / metabolism*
  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Flavonoids*
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Phloroglucinol / metabolism*
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Polyphenols


  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polymers
  • Polyphenols
  • Phloroglucinol