PMID: 39502Jul 1, 1979

Microbial oxidation of gaseous hydrocarbons: epoxidation of C2 to C4 n-alkenes by methylotrophic bacteria

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
C T HouN Barnabe


Over 20 new cultures of methane-utilizing microbes, including obligate (types I and III) and facultative methylotrophic bacteria were isolated. In addition to their ability to oxidize methane to methanol, resting cell-suspensions of three distinct types of methane-grown bacteria (Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b [type II, obligate]; Methylococcus capsulatus CRL M1 NRRL B-11219 [type I, obligate]; and Methylobacterium organophilum CRL-26 NRRL B-11222 [facultative]) oxidize C2 to C4 n-alkenes to their corresponding 1,2-epoxides. The product 1,2-epoxides are not further metabolized and accumulate extracellularly. Methanol-grown cells do not have either the epoxidation or the hydroxylation activities. Among the substrate gaseous alkenes, propylene is oxidized at the highest rate. Methane inhibits the epoxidation of propylene. The stoichiometry of the consumption of propylene and oxygen and the production of propylene oxide is 1:1:1. The optimal conditions for in vivo epoxidation are described. Results from inhibition studies indicate that the same monooxygenase system catalyzes both the hydroxylation and the epoxidation reactions. Both the hydroxylation and epoxidation activities are located in the cell-free particulate fraction pre...Continue Reading


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