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Mimosine, a Toxin Present in Leguminous Trees (Leucaena spp.), Induces a Mimosine-Degrading Enzyme Activity in Some Rhizobium Strains

  • Muchdar Soedarjo
  • Thomas K. Hemscheidt
  • Dulal Borthakur
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1994
  • Biology


Thirty-seven Rhizobium isolates obtained from the nodules of leguminous trees (Leucaena spp.) were selected on the basis of their ability to catabolize mimosine, a toxin found in large quantities in the seeds, foliage, and roots of plants of the genera Leucaena and Mimosa. A new medium containing mimosine as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen was used for selection. The enzymes of the mimosine catabolic pathway were inducible and were present in the soluble fraction of the cell extract of induced cells. On the basis of a comparison of the growth rates of Rhizobium strains on general carbon and nitrogen sources versus mimosine, the toxin appears to be converted mostly to biomass and carbon dioxide. Most isolates able to grow on mimosine as a source of carbon and nitrogen are also able to utilize 3-hydroxy-4-pyridone, a toxic intermediate of mimosine degradation in other organisms.

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