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Terbuthylazine (TBA) is an emerging environmental contaminant that poses moderate to high risk to non-target organisms. In this study, a newly TBA-degrading strain, Agrobacterium rhizogenes AT13, was isolated. This bacterium degraded 98.7% of TBA (100 mg/L) within 39 h. Based on the six detected metabolites, three novel pathways of strain AT13, including dealkylation, deamination-hydroxylation, and ring-opening reactions, were proposed. The risk assessment demonstrated that most degradation products might be substantially less harmful than TBA. Whole-genome sequencing and RT-qPCR analysis revealed that ttzA, which encodes S-adenosylhomocysteine deaminase (TtzA), is closely related to TBA degradation in AT13. Recombinant TtzA showed 75.3% degradation of 50 mg/L of TBA within 13 h and presented a Km value of 0.299 mmol/L and a Vmax value of 0.041 mmol/L/min. The molecular docking results indicated that the binding energy of TtzA to TBA was -32.9 kcal/mol and TtzA residue ASP161 formed two hydrogen bonds with TBA at distances of 2.23 and 1.80 Å. Moreover, AT13 efficiently degraded TBA in water and soil. Overall, this study provides a foundation for the characterization and mechanism of TBA biodegradation and may enhance our understanding of the TBA biodegradation by microbes. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Yanmei Liu, Wei Liu, Menghao Li, Shiling Liu, Dingjiao Peng, Feng Zhao, Xiaogang Wu, Huihua Tan. Biodegradation characteristics and mechanism of terbuthylazine by the newly isolated Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain AT13. Journal of hazardous materials. 2023 Aug 15;456:131664

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PMID: 37224716

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