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Anaerobic formation of the aromatic hydrocarbon p-cymene from monoterpenes by methanogenic enrichment cultures

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Harder,  Jens
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

Foss,  S.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Harder, J., & Foss, S. (1999). Anaerobic formation of the aromatic hydrocarbon p-cymene from monoterpenes by methanogenic enrichment cultures. Geomicrobiology Journal, 16(4), 295-305. doi:10.1080/014904599270550.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-4853-D
Abstract
The fate of monoterpenes in methanogenic habitats was investigated in enrichment cultures using defined mineral media inoculated with activated sludge and R-(-)-alpha-phellandrene, (+)-2-carene, (-)-alpha-pinene, or (+)-sabinene. The anaerobic biodegradation of alpha-pinene and 2-carene supported methanogenesis. In contrast, consumption of alpha-phellandrene and sabinene was accompanied by formation of the aromatic hydrocarbon p-cymene. This aromatization reaction did not occur in pasteurized or autoclaved cultures or in the absence of microorganisms. The monoterpene gamma-telpinene accumulated transiently. We conclude that anaerobic microorganisms exist that are able to aromatize monoterpenes with a cyclohexadiene structure. Similar biological reactions may contribute to the formation of aromatic biomarker molecules, e.g., monoaromatic steroids and hopanoids.