Co-oxidation of a range of alkenes, dienes, and aromatic compounds by whole cells of the isoprene-degrading bacterium Rhodococcus sp. AD45 expressing isoprene monooxygenase was investigated, revealing a relatively broad substrate specificity for this soluble diiron centre monooxygenase. A range of 1-alkynes (C2–C8) were tested as potential inhibitors. Acetylene, a potent inhibitor of the related enzyme soluble methane monooxygenase, had little inhibitory effect, whereas 1-octyne was a potent inhibitor of isoprene monooxygenase, indicating that 1-octyne could potentially be used as a specific inhibitor to differentiate between isoprene consumption by bona fide isoprene degraders and co-oxidation of isoprene by other oxygenase-containing bacteria, such as methanotrophs, in environmental samples. The isoprene oxidation kinetics of a variety of monooxygenase-expressing bacteria were also investigated, revealing that alkene monooxygenase from Xanthobacter and soluble methane monooxygenases from Methylococcus and Methylocella, but not particulate methane monooxygenases from Methylococcus or Methylomicrobium, could co-oxidise isoprene at appreciable rates. Interestingly the ammonia monooxygenase from the nitrifier Nitrosomonas europaea could also co-oxidise isoprene at relatively high rates, suggesting that co-oxidation of isoprene by additional groups of bacteria, under the right conditions, might occur in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-819
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number6
Early online date7 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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