Aerobic and anaerobic degradation pathways for N-heterocyclic aromatic compound indole

Ying Ying Wang*, Choi Wan Yip, Yan Zhen Fan, Ji Dong Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Both aerobic and anaerobic enrichment cultures were obtained from mangrove sediment using indole as the sole source of carbon and energy. Biochemical pathway of degradation was elucidated after identification of the degradation intermediates. Results showed that hydroxylation at 2 and 3 positions of the pyrrole ring is the initial step, resulting oxindole and isatin, respectively, regardless of the experimental conditions including aerobic and strictly anaerobic conditions (methanogenic and sulfate-reducing). Substitution of methyl group at 1,2 and 3 position on 1-methylindole, 2-methylindole and 3-methylindole inhibits initial microbial attack significantly. It is apparent that a common degradation pathway exists for N-heterocyclic aromatic compounds and the degradability is determined by the substitution groups and position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-173
Number of pages4
JournalBulletin of Mineralogy Petrology and Geochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic
  • CLC X
  • Degradation pathway
  • Indoles
  • Methanogenic
  • Sulfate-reducing


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