Dibenzothiophene is a sulfur heterocycle found in crude oils and coal. The biodegradation of dibenzothiophene through the Kodama pathway by Pseudomonas sp. strain BT1d leads to the formation of three disulfides: 2-oxo-2-(2-thiophenyl)ethanoic acid disulfide, 2-oxo-2-(2-thiophenyl)ethanoic acid-2-benzoic acid disulfide, and 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid. When provided as the carbon and sulfur source in liquid medium, 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid was degraded by soil enrichment cultures. Two bacterial isolates, designated strains RM1 and RM6, degraded 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid when combined in the medium. Isolate RM6 was found to have an absolute requirement for vitamin B12, and it degraded 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid in pure culture when the medium was supplemented with this vitamin. Isolate RM6 also degraded 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid in medium containing sterilized supernatants from cultures of isolate RM1 grown on glucose or benzoate. Isolate RM6 was identified as a member of the genus Variovorax using the Biolog system and 16S rRNA gene analysis. Although the mechanism of disulfide metabolism could not be determined, benzoic acid was detected as a transient metabolite of 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid biodegradation by Variovorax sp. strain RM6. In pure culture, this isolate mineralized 2,2′-dithiodibenzoic acid, releasing 59% of the carbon as carbon dioxide and 88% of the sulfur as sulfate
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