Aerobic Microbial Transformation of Fluorinated Liquid Crystal Monomer: New Pathways and Mechanism

Xifen Zhu, Yuanyuan Yu, Weikun Meng, Jiahui Huang, Guanyong Su, Yin Zhong, Xiaolong Yu, Jianteng Sun, Ling Jin, Ping’an Peng, Lizhong Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fluorinated liquid crystal monomers (FLCMs) have been suggested as emerging contaminants, raising global concern due to their frequent occurrence, potential toxic effects, and endurance capacity in the environment. However, the environmental fate of the FLCMs remains unknown. To fill this knowledge gap, we investigated the aerobic microbial transformation mechanisms of an important FLCM, 4-[difluoro(3,4,5-trifluorophenoxy)methyl]-3, 5-difluoro-4′-propylbiphenyl (DTMDPB), using an enrichment culture termed as BG1. Our findings revealed that 67.5 ± 2.1% of the initially added DTMDPB was transformed in 10 days under optimal conditions. A total of 14 microbial transformation products obtained due to a series of reactions (e.g., reductive defluorination, ether bond cleavage, demethylation, oxidative hydroxylation and aromatic ring opening, sulfonation, glucuronidation, O-methylation, and thiolation) were identified. Consortium BG1 harbored essential genes that could transform DTMDPB, such as dehalogenation-related genes [e.g., glutathione S-transferase gene (GST), 2-haloacid dehalogenase gene (2-HAD), nrdB, nuoC, and nuoD]; hydroxylating-related genes hcaC, ubiH, and COQ7; aromatic ring opening-related genes ligB and catE; and methyltransferase genes ubiE and ubiG. Two DTMDPB-degrading strains were isolated, which are affiliated with the genus Sphingopyxis and Agromyces. This study provides a novel insight into the microbial transformation of FLCMs. The findings of this study have important implications for the development of bioremediation strategies aimed at addressing sites contaminated with FLCMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-521
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2024


  • fluorinated LCMs
  • functional bacteria
  • functional genes
  • microbial defluorination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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