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Research > Resin acid biodegradation

Resin acids are a family of toxic turpenoids occurring naturally in trees and causing toxicity of forest industry effluents. We have isolated diverse bacteria that degrade resin acids, and we have characterized their physiology and phylogeny. We are elucidating the biochemical pathway for degradation of resin acids by Burkholdaria and Pseudomonas species, by characterizing the genes and enzymes responsible for the pathway. Current efforts focus on a putative monooxygenase acting early in the pathway. We are also studying the population dynamics and metabolic dynamics of resin acid-degrading microbes within biological treatment systems, using quantitative assays for the DNA and RNA of these organisms (see section on Molecular microbial ecology).

Selected publications:
Martin, V.J.J. & W.W. Mohn. 2000. Genetic investigation of the catabolic pathway for the degradation of abietane diterpenoids by Pseudomonas abietaniphila BKME-9. J. Bacteriol. 182:3784-3793.
Martin, V.J.J. & W.W. Mohn. 1999. Recent advances in understanding resin acid biodegradation: microbial diversity and metabolism. Arch. Microbiol. 172:131-138.

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