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1.  Bioremediation: a genuine technology to remediate radionuclides from the environment 
Microbial Biotechnology  2013;6(4):349-360.
Radionuclides in the environment are a major human and environmental health concern. Like the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 is once again causing damage to the environment: a large quantity of radioactive waste is being generated and dumped into the environment, and if the general population is exposed to it, may cause serious life-threatening disorders. Bioremediation has been viewed as the ecologically responsible alternative to environmentally destructive physical remediation. Microorganisms carry endogenous genetic, biochemical and physiological properties that make them ideal agents for pollutant remediation in soil and groundwater. Attempts have been made to develop native or genetically engineered (GE) microbes for the remediation of environmental contaminants including radionuclides. Microorganism-mediated bioremediation can affect the solubility, bioavailability and mobility of radionuclides. Therefore, we aim to unveil the microbial-mediated mechanisms for biotransformation of radionuclides under various environmental conditions as developing strategies for waste management of radionuclides. A discussion follows of ‘-omics’-integrated genomics and proteomics technologies, which can be used to trace the genes and proteins of interest in a given microorganism towards a cell-free bioremediation strategy.
PMCID: PMC3917470  PMID: 23617701
2.  Novel Pathway for the Degradation of 2-Chloro-4-Nitrobenzoic Acid by Acinetobacter sp. Strain RKJ12▿† 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(18):6606-6613.
The organism Acinetobacter sp. RKJ12 is capable of utilizing 2-chloro-4-nitrobenzoic acid (2C4NBA) as a sole source of carbon, nitrogen, and energy. In the degradation of 2C4NBA by strain RKJ12, various metabolites were isolated and identified by a combination of chromatographic, spectroscopic, and enzymatic activities, revealing a novel assimilation pathway involving both oxidative and reductive catabolic mechanisms. The metabolism of 2C4NBA was initiated by oxidative ortho dehalogenation, leading to the formation of 2-hydroxy-4-nitrobenzoic acid (2H4NBA), which subsequently was metabolized into 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,4-DHBA) by a mono-oxygenase with the concomitant release of chloride and nitrite ions. Stoichiometric analysis indicated the consumption of 1 mol O2 per conversion of 2C4NBA to 2,4-DHBA, ruling out the possibility of two oxidative reactions. Experiments with labeled H218O and 18O2 indicated the involvement of mono-oxygenase-catalyzed initial hydrolytic dechlorination and oxidative denitration mechanisms. The further degradation of 2,4-DHBA then proceeds via reductive dehydroxylation involving the formation of salicylic acid. In the lower pathway, the organism transformed salicylic acid into catechol, which was mineralized by the ortho ring cleavage catechol-1,2-dioxygenase to cis, cis-muconic acid, ultimately forming tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. Furthermore, the studies carried out on a 2C4NBA− derivative and a 2C4NBA+ transconjugant demonstrated that the catabolic genes for the 2C4NBA degradation pathway possibly reside on the ∼55-kb transmissible plasmid present in RKJ12.
PMCID: PMC3187165  PMID: 21803909
3.  Development of an HPLC method for determination of pentachloronitrobenzene, hexachlorobenzene and their possible metabolites 
BMC Chemical Biology  2011;11:2.
Pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) are highly toxic and widespread in every environmental compartment. Some of metabolic products such as amino/nitro containing chlorinated aromatic compounds can be determined by gas chromatography coupled with electron capture detector (GC-ECD). However, it is difficult to identify some of chlorophenolic and chloroquinolic intermediates produced from PCNB and HCB by the above mentioned technique. Therefore, for analysis of these compounds and their metabolites, we have developed a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) based method.
The extraction of PCNB and HCB from soil and minimal salt medium was carried out with ethyl acetate and hexane respectively with good recoveries (98% for PCNB and 97% for HCB). The validation of the proposed extraction and HPLC method was done by analysis of PCNB and HCB biodegradation and their metabolites identification from anaerobic enriched soil samples.
A rapid, sensitive and simple HPLC based analytical method was developed for the analysis of PCNB, HCB and their possible intermediates.
PMCID: PMC3341572  PMID: 22112041
4.  A process optimization for bio-catalytic production of substituted catechols (3-nitrocatechol and 3-methylcatechol 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:49.
Substituted catechols are important precursors for large-scale synthesis of pharmaceuticals and other industrial products. Most of the reported chemical synthesis methods are expensive and insufficient at industrial level. However, biological processes for production of substituted catechols could be highly selective and suitable for industrial purposes.
We have optimized a process for bio-catalytic production of 3-substituted catechols viz. 3-nitrocatechol (3-NC) and 3-methylcatechol (3-MC) at pilot scale. Amongst the screened strains, two strains viz. Pseudomonas putida strain (F1) and recombinant Escherichia coli expression clone (pDTG602) harboring first two genes of toluene degradation pathway were found to accumulate 3-NC and 3-MC respectively. Various parameters such as amount of nutrients, pH, temperature, substrate concentration, aeration, inoculums size, culture volume, toxicity of substrate and product, down stream extraction, single step and two-step biotransformation were optimized at laboratory scale to obtain high yields of 3-substituted catechols. Subsequently, pilot scale studies were performed in 2.5 liter bioreactor. The rate of product accumulation at pilot scale significantly increased up to ~90-95% with time and high yields of 3-NC (10 mM) and 3-MC (12 mM) were obtained.
The biocatalytic production of 3-substituted catechols viz. 3-NC and 3-MC depend on some crucial parameters to obtain maximum yields of the product at pilot scale. The process optimized for production of 3-substituted catechols by using the organisms P. putida (F1) and recombinant E. coli expression clone (pDTG602) may be useful for industrial application.
PMCID: PMC2906425  PMID: 20587073

Results 1-4 (4)