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Title: The bacterial metabolism of propane
Author: Woods, Nigel R.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3572 383X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1988
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A range of enrichment/isolation procedures yielded over 80 strains of Gram-positive propane-utilizing bacteria from a variety of environments. All appeared to be members of the Corynebacterium-Mycobacterium-Nocardia complex. No Gram-negative organisms were isolated and screening of Pseudomonas spp. culture collections failed to isolate any gaseous alkane-utilizing strains. Three of the isolated strains, identified as Rhodococcus rhodochrous. R. erythropolis and a Mycobacterium sp., were subjected to further analyses. They showed differing specificities towards gaseous alkane substrates, R. rhodochrous growing only on propane, the Mycobacterium sp. on ethane and propane, and R. erythropolis on all three. None could grow on alkenes but all could epoxidate propene to 1,2-epoxypropane after growth on propane. R. rhodochrous (designated strain PNKbl) was selected for detailed study. Its potential to epoxidate alkenes was investigated further. Attempts to grow the organism in steady-state, continuous culture on propane were unsuccessful. It grew batchwise on most of the putative Intermediates of propane metabolism. Simultaneous adaptation studies using whole cells suggested that the organism had the potential to use either the terminal or subterminal pathways of propane metabolism. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed proteins of molecular weight 67, 59, 57 kDal specific to cells grown on propane, which may be components of the propane-oxidizing system. Oxygenase activity induced by propane, was studied in whole cell and cell-free systems and results suggest that it may be different in nature to those previously described alkane oxygenase systems. The enzyme complement of propane-grown cells suggested that propane could be assimilated by either terminal or subterminal oxidation pathways and the relative importance of each remains unclear.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Science and Engineering Research Council ; British Petroleum Company
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR Microbiology