Biodegradation of p-nitrophenol via 1,2,4-benzenetriol by an Arthrobacter sp

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Aug;60(8):3030-2. doi: 10.1128/aem.60.8.3030-3032.1994.


The degradation of p-nitrophenol (PNP) by Moraxella and Pseudomonas spp. involves an initial monooxygenase-catalyzed removal of the nitro group. The resultant hydroquinone is subject to ring fission catalyzed by a dioxygenase enzyme. We have isolated a strain of an Arthrobacter sp., JS443, capable of degrading PNP with stoichiometric release of nitrite. During induction of the enzymes required for growth on PNP, 1,2,4-benzenetriol was identified as an intermediate by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) and radiotracer studies. 1,2,4-Benzenetriol was converted to maleylacetic acid, which was further degraded by the beta-ketoadipate pathway. Conversion of PNP to 1,2,4-benzenetriol is catalyzed by a monooxygenase system in strain JS443 through the formation of 4-nitrocatechol, 4-nitroresorcinol, or both. Our results clearly indicate the existence of an alternative pathway for the biodegradation of PNP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthrobacter / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Hydroquinones / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Nitrophenols / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption


  • Hydroquinones
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrophenols
  • hydroxyhydroquinone
  • 4-nitrophenol