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Enantioselective degradation of the herbicide mecoprop [2-(2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid] by mixed and pure bacterial cultures

V.A. Tett , A.J. Willetts , H.M. Lappin-Scott
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6941.1994.tb00105.x 191-199 First published online: 1 July 1994


A consortium of three bacteria was isolated from top soil through their capacity to utilise the chlorinated, aromatic herbicide mecoprop as a single growth substrate. The consortium constituted a tight association of Alcaligenes denitrificans, Pseudomonas glycinea and Pseudomonas marginalis. The culture exclusively degraded the (R)-(+)-isomer of the herbicide while the (S)-(−)-enantiomer remained unaffected. The mecoprop-degrading community could also degrade 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid and racemic 2-phenoxypropionic acid. Initially, no single member of the consortium was able to degrade mecoprop as a pure culture but after prolonged incubation, A. denitrificans was able to grow on the herbicide as the sole source of carbon and energy.

Key words
  • Biodegradation
  • [2-(Methyl-4-chlorophenoxy)propionic acid]
  • Mecoprop
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Microbial community
  • Bioremediation

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