Biotransformation of trinitrotoluene by Citrobacter sp. YC4 and evaluation of its cyto-toxicological effects

Chih Ming Kao, Shih Feng Wei, Ssu Ching Chen, Chao Ling Yao, Cheng Ma, Chih Ching Chien

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4 Scopus citations


Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is an explosive chemical generally used for military, civil and industrial purposes. Therefore, TNT residue can be found in soil and ground water as an environmental pollutant. The environmental control of TNT pollution has become a critical issue because of its potential toxicity and carcinogenicity. The aim of this study is to evaluate the cyto-toxicological effects of TNT after bioremediation. Citrobacter sp. YC4 is able to utilize TNT as a sole nitrogen source. Citrobacter sp. YC4 cells grown in medium with TNT as the sole nitrogen source (TNT-N) were able to rapidly degrade TNT, in contrast to cells grown in Luria Bertani medium as determined by resting cell suspension. The concentration of TNT decreased from 100 to 0 ppm within 10 h in the solution containing TNT mixed with TNT-N-grown YC4. The cytotoxicity of TNT and its degradation products generated by TNT-N-grown YC4 were assessed by WST-1-based cell cytotoxicity assays. Our results showed that the cytotoxic potential of solutions containing TNT decreased almost to the level of the control after a 1-h incubation with TNT-N-grown YC4 cells. The rapid conversion of TNT into possibly less toxic products by Citrobacter sp. YC4 proposes a bioremediation prospection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfnx256
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Biodegradation
  • Biotransformation
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Environmental toxicology
  • TNT


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