Metabolism of twelve herbicides by Streptomyces

Biodegradation. 1996 Apr;7(2):129-36. doi: 10.1007/BF00114625.


Experiments were conducted to assess the ability of Streptomyces (strain PS1/5) to metabolize twelve herbicides representing several different classes including: acetanilides, triazines, ureas, uracils, and imidazoles. Incubations in aqueous culture with dextrin as carbon source and either ammonium or Casamino acids as nitrogen source resulted in transformations (> 50%) of eight of the herbicides tested: alachlor, metolachlor, atrazine, prometryne, ametryne, linuron, tebuthiuron, and bromacil; the remaining four herbicides (cyanazine, diuron, metribuzin, and imazapyr) were also transformed, but to a lesser extent. In most instances, biotransformations occurred concurrently with growth and results were consistent regardless of the nitrogen source (ammonium vs. Casamino acids). However, in some instances there were differences in rates of biotransformation as a consequence of the nitrogen source (e.g. alachlor, metribuzin), suggesting the selective induction of certain metabolic enzymes; in other instances biotransformations were not associated with growth, suggesting secondary metabolism. An experiment was also conducted to assess the ability of Streptomyces (strain PS1/5) to metabolize atrazine contaminated soil. Inoculation of soil amended with 20 micrograms/g of atrazine and 5% chitin as carbon source resulted in ca. 78% removal of atrazine within 28 days. These data suggest that Streptomyces species may be potential candidates for soil inoculation to bioremediate herbicide contaminated soils.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biotransformation
  • Herbicides / chemistry
  • Herbicides / classification
  • Herbicides / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Soil Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Streptomyces / growth & development
  • Streptomyces / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / pharmacokinetics


  • Herbicides
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical