Biotransformation of trinitrotoluene (TNT) by Pseudomonas spp. isolated from a TNT-contaminated environment



The compound 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a secondary explosive widely used worldwide for both military and civil purposes. As a result, residual TNT has been detected as an environmental pollutant in both soil and groundwater. The authors have isolated several microbial strains from soil contaminated with TNT by enrichment culture techniques using TNT as a carbon, nitrogen, and energy source. The contaminated soil contained approximately 1860 ppm TNT measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The initial identification of these isolates was determined by 16S rRNA gene comparison. The isolates mainly included species belonging to the genus Pseudomonas. Two strains (Pseudomonas putida strain TP1 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain TP6) were selected for further examination. Both strains demonstrated the ability to grow on the medium containing TNT as a carbon, energy, and nitrogen source and also clearly demonstrated the ability to degrade TNT. More than 90% of the TNT in the growth medium was degraded by both strains after 22 d incubation, as determined by HPLC. Additionally, the resting cells of P. putida TP1 and P. aeruginosa TP6 both significantly displayed the ability to transform (metabolize) TNT. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:1059–1063. © 2014 SETAC