A mechanistic perspective on bacterial metabolism of chlorinated methanes

Lawrence P. Wackett, Michael S.P. Logan, Frank A. Blocki, Cai Bao-li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Chlorinated methanes are important environmental pollutants, which can be metabolized by bacteria. The biotransformation of chlorinated methanes by bacteria has been shown to be due either to gratuitous metabolism (cometabolism) or their use as a source of carbon and energy. The reactions which result in carbon-halogen bond cleavage include substitutive, reductive, oxygenative, and gem-elimination mechanisms. Certain methylotrophic bacteria can use dichloromethane as a source of carbon and energy. Dichloromethane dehalogenase catalyzes the first substitutive reaction in this metabolism. The enzyme shows a 1010-fold rate enhancement over the reaction of the bisulfide anion with dichloromethane in water. Pseudomonas putida G786 synthesizes cytochrome P-450CAM which catalyzes the gratuitous reduction of chlorinated methanes. These studies with purified enzymes are beginning to reveal more detailed mechanistic features of bacterial chlorinated methane metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992


  • bacteria
  • biodegradation
  • chlorofluoromethanes
  • chloromethanes
  • dehalogenation
  • mechanisms

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