Metabolites and dead-end products from the microbial oxidation of quaternary ammonium alcohols

Kaech, Andres ; Hofer, Martina ; Rentsch, Daniel ; Schnider, Christian ; Egli, Thomas

In: Biodegradation, 2005, vol. 16, no. 5, p. 461-473

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    Methyl-triethanol-ammonium originates from the hydrolysis of the parent esterquat surfactant, which is used as softener in fabric care. The initial steps of the catabolism were investigated in cell-free extracts of the bacterial strain MM 1 able to grow with methyl-triethanol-ammonium as sole source of carbon, energy and nitrogen. The initial degradation of methyl-triethanol-ammonium is an enzymatically catalyzed reaction, located in the particulate fraction of strain MM 1. The oxygen dependent reaction occurred also in presence of phenazine methosulfate as an alternative electron acceptor. As soon as one ethanol group of methyl-triethanol-ammonium was oxidized to the aldehyde, cyclic hemiacetals were formed by intramolecular cyclization. The third ethanol group of methyl-triethanol-ammonium was oxidized to the aldehyde and the carboxylic acid sequentially. The structurally related compounds dimethyl-diethanol-ammonium and choline were oxidized as well, whereas (±)-2,3-dihydroxypropyl-trimethyl-ammonium was not converted at all. The structures of the metabolites were established by 1D and 2D 1H, 13C and 14N NMR spectroscopy and by capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry