New metabolites in the degradation of fluorene by Arthrobacter sp. strain F101

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Mar;63(3):819-26. doi: 10.1128/aem.63.3.819-826.1997.


Identification of new metabolites and demonstration of key enzyme activities support and extend the pathways previously reported for fluorene metabolism by Arthrobacter sp. strain F101. Washed-cell suspensions of strain F101 with fluorene accumulated 9-fluorenone, 4-hydroxy-9-fluorenone, 3-hydroxy-1-indanone, 1-indanone, 2-indanone, 3-(2-hydroxyphenyl) propionate, and a compound tentatively identified as a formyl indanone. Incubations with 2-indanone produced 3-isochromanone. The growth yield with fluorene as a sole source of carbon and energy corresponded to an assimilation of about 34% of fluorene carbon. About 7.4% was transformed into 9-fluorenol, 9-fluorenone, and 4-hydroxy-9-fluorenone. Crude extracts from fluorene-induced cells showed 3,4-dihydrocoumarin hydrolase and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase activities. These results and biodegradation experiments with the identified metabolites indicate that metabolism of fluorene by Arthrobacter sp. strain F101 proceeds through three independent pathways. Two productive routes are initiated by dioxygenation at positions 1,2 and 3,4, respectively. meta cleavage followed by an aldolase reaction and loss of C-1 yield the detected indanones. Subsequent biological Baeyer-Villiger reactions produce the aromatic lactones 3,4-dihydrocoumarin and 3-isochromanone. Enzymatic hydrolysis of the former gives 3-(2-hydroxyphenyl) propionate, which could be a substrate for a beta oxidation cycle, to give salicylate. Further oxidation of the latter via catechol and 2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde connects with the central metabolism, allowing the utilization of all fluorene carbons. Identification of 4-hydroxy-9-fluorenone is consistent with an alternative pathway initiated by monooxygenation at C-9 to give 9-fluorenol and then 9-fluorenone. Although dioxygenation at 3,4 positions of the ketone apparently occurs, this reaction fails to furnish a subsequent productive oxidation of this compound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthrobacter / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fluorenes / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry


  • Fluorenes
  • fluorene