Isolation and characterization of a novel poly(vinyl alcohol)-degrading bacterium, Sphingopyxis sp. PVA3

Atsushi Yamatsu, Rie Matsumi, Haruyuki Atomi, Tadayuki Imanaka

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We have isolated a poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)-degrading bacterium from an activated sludge sample obtained from the drainage of a dyeing factory. Enrichment cultures were performed in media containing PVA as the sole or major carbon source. After several rounds of cultivation on liquid and solid media, we were able to isolate a single colony with PVA-degrading ability (strain PVA3). The bacterium could degrade PVA in the absence of symbionts or cofactors such as pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). Over 90% of PVA, at an initial concentration of 0.1%, was degraded within a 6-day cultivation. Degradation was confirmed by both iodometric methods and gel permeation chromatography. Examination of the PVA attached to the cells revealed a large increase in carbonyl groups, suggesting the oxidation of hydroxyl groups of the polymer on the surfaces of cells. Addition of PQQ to the culture medium did not enhance the growth and the PVA-degrading rates of strain PVA3. Furthermore, we found that cells grown on PVA generated hydrogen peroxide upon the addition of PVA. The results strongly suggest that the initial oxidation of PVA is mediated via a PVA oxidase, and not a PQQ-dependent dehydrogenase. A biochemical and phylogenetic characterization of the bacterium was performed. The sequence of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene of the bacterium indicated a phylogenetic position of the strain within the genus Sphingopyxis, and the strain was therefore designated Sphingopyxis sp. PVA3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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