The enzymes of microbial nicotine metabolism

Paul F. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Because of nicotine’s toxicity and the high levels found in tobacco and in the waste from tobacco processing, there is a great deal of interest in identifying bacteria capable of degrading it. A number of microbial pathways have been identified for nicotine degradation. The first and best-understood is the pyridine pathway, best characterized for Arthrobacter nicotinovorans, in which the first reaction is hydroxylation of the pyridine ring. The pyrrolidine pathway, which begins with oxidation of a carbon–nitrogen bond in the pyrrolidine ring, was subsequently characterized in a number of pseudomonads. Most recently, a hybrid pathway has been described, which incorporates the early steps in the pyridine pathway and ends with steps in the pyrrolidine pathway. This review summarizes the present status of our understanding of these pathways, focusing on what is known about the individual enzymes involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2295-2307
Number of pages13
JournalBeilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry
StatePublished - Aug 31 2018


  • Biodegradation
  • Enzyme mechanism
  • Flavoprotein
  • Metabolic pathway
  • Nicotine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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