Comparative benzene-induced fatty acid changes in a rhodococcus species and its benzene-sensitive mutant: possible role of myristic and oleic acids in tolerance

Gutierrez, Tony and Learmonth, Robert P. and Nichols, Peter D. and Couperwhite, Iain (2003) Comparative benzene-induced fatty acid changes in a rhodococcus species and its benzene-sensitive mutant: possible role of myristic and oleic acids in tolerance. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 29 (10). pp. 2369-2378. ISSN 0098-0331

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A Gram positive bacterium of the genus Rhodococcus was isolated from a contaminated site in Sydney, Australia, for its ability to tolerate and degrade high concentrations of benzene. To identify fatty acids that may impart this Rhodococcus sp. with tolerance to toxic solvents, a benzene-sensitive strain, labeled M2b, was isolated using EMS mutagenesis. A comparative analysis of fatty acid profiles showed that strain M2b was unable to increase its saturated:unsaturated ratio of fatty acids to the level achieved by the w-t strain when both strains were challenged with benzene. This was due to M2b's increased abundance of myristic acid, and decreased abundance of oleic acid. In addition, by measuring the generalized polarization of the fluorescent membrane probe laurdan using fluorescence spectroscopy, we have shown for the first time the effects of an aromatic hydrocarbon on the membrane fluidity of a Rhodococcus sp. The fluidity of the membranes increased after only 0.5 hr of exposure to benzene, thus suggesting the partitioning of benzene within the lipid bilayer. The response of this Rhodococcus sp. to benzene may suggest a mechanism for how other microorganisms survive when toxic solvents are released within the vicinity of their environment.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Pre-print version of article, as made available here, differs in title from the Published version. Pre-print title: Comparative benzene-induced fatty acid changes in a Rhodococcus species and its benzene-sensitive mutant: the possible role of myristic and oleic acids in providing tolerance. The original publication is available at
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2007 04:36
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2013 04:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: benzene; membrane fluidity; bioremediation; fatty acids; myristic acid; oleic acid; rhodococcus; cell membrane; solvent tolerance
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
06 Biological Sciences > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060110 Receptors and Membrane Biology
03 Chemical Sciences > 0399 Other Chemical Sciences > 039901 Environmental Chemistry (incl. Atmospheric Chemistry)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1023/A:1026286700855

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