• Alkenes;
  • Epoxides;
  • Styrene monooxygenase;
  • Styrene oxide isomerase;
  • Whole cell biotransformation


Pseudomonas putida CA-3 is capable of consuming a number of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons. With the exception of styrene none of the alkenes tested are capable of supporting the growth of P. putida CA-3 as sole sources of carbon and energy. The highest rate of alkene consumption was observed with styrene as the substrate. A 6.5- and 15.5-fold lower rate of substrate consumption was observed with indene and indole with the concomitant formation of 2-indanone and indigo, respectively. The presence of a sulphur (benzothiopene) or oxygen (benzofuran) in the cyclopentene ring resulted in further decreases in the rate of substrate consumption by whole cells of P. putida CA-3. P. putida CA-3 is incapable of consuming benzene and consumes toluene at a low rate. No detectable products were observed in supernatants of cultures incubated with benzothiopene, benzofuran or toluene. The aliphatic alkenes 1-octene and 1,7-octadiene were both consumed by whole cells of P. putida CA-3 at a rate equivalent to indene consumption. The consumption of (R) styrene oxide was 1.7- and 1.25-fold higher than that of the S isomer and the racemic mix, respectively. The rate of racemic indene oxide, 1,2-epoxyoctane and 1,2-epoxy-7-octene consumption was lower than their equivalent alkene and 55-, 11.8-, and 27.5-fold lower than the rate of racemic styrene oxide consumption. A transposon mutant incapable of growth with styrene or styrene oxide failed to transform indole to indigo. The ratio of styrene utilisation relative to other substrates changes in the mutant strain compared to the wild-type strain, e.g., Indene biotransformation by mutant AF5 is 1.9-fold higher than styrene consumption compared to the wild-type strain CA-3 where the rate of styrene consumption is 6.7-fold higher than indene consumption. This trend is also observed for other alkenes and epoxides.