Microbial degradation is considered the most promising method for removing phthalate acid esters (PAEs) from polluted environments; however, a comprehensive genomic understanding of the entire PAE catabolic process is still lacking. In this study, the repertoire of PAE catabolism genes in the metabolically versatile bacterium Rhodococcus sp. 2G was examined using genomic, metabolic, and bioinformatic analyses. A total of 4930 coding genes were identified from the 5.6?Mb genome of the 2G strain, including 337 esterase/hydrolase genes and 48 transferase and decarboxylase genes that were involved in hydrolysing PAEs into phthalate acid (PA) and decarboxylating PA into benzoic acid (BA). One gene cluster (xyl) responsible for transforming BA into catechol and two catechol-catabolism gene clusters controlling the ortho (cat) and meta (xyl &mhp) cleavage pathways were also identified. The proposed PAE catabolism pathway and some key degradation genes were validated by intermediate-utilising tests and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Our results provide novel insight into the mechanisms of PAE biodegradation at the molecular level and useful information on gene resources for future studies. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Journal: The Science of the total environment