Biotransformation patterns of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene by aerobic bacteria

Curr Microbiol. 1998 Jan;36(1):45-54. doi: 10.1007/s002849900278.


2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT), a toxic nitroaromatic explosive, accumulates in the environment, making necessary the remediation of contaminated areas and unused materials. Although bioremediation has been utilized to detoxify TNT, the metabolic processes involved in the metabolism of TNT have proven to be complex. The three aerobic bacterial strains reported here (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus sp. , and Staphylococcus sp.) differ in their ability to biotransform TNT and in their growth characteristics in the presence of TNT. In addition, enzymatic activities have been identified that differ in the reduction of nitro groups, cofactor preferences, and the ability to eliminate-NO2 from the ring. The Bacillus sp. has the most diverse bioremediation potential owing to its growth in the presence of TNT, high level of reductive ability, and capability of removing-NO2 from the nitroaromatic ring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria, Aerobic / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biotransformation
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Trinitrotoluene / pharmacokinetics*


  • Nitrites
  • Trinitrotoluene
  • NADP