Aerobic biotransformation of 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate by Dietzia aurantiaca J3 under sulfur-limiting conditions

Valentina Méndez, Sophie Holland, Shefali Bhardwaj, James McDonald, Stuart Khan, Denis O'Carroll, Russell Pickford, Sarah Richards, Casey O'Farrell, Nicholas Coleman, Matthew Lee, Michael J. Manefield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The polyfluorinated alkyl substance 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (6:2 FTS) has been detected in diverse environments impacted by aqueous film-forming foams used for firefighting. In this study, a bacterial strain (J3) using 6:2 FTS as a sulfur source was isolated from landfill leachate previously exposed to polyfluoroalkyl substances in New South Wales, Australia. Strain J3 shares 99.9% similarity with the 16S rRNA gene of Dietzia aurantiaca CCUG 35676T. Genome sequencing yielded a draft genome sequence of 37 contigs with a G + C content of 69.7%. A gene cluster related to organic sulfur utilisation and assimilation was identified, that included an alkanesulfonate monooxygenase component B (ssuD), an alkanesulfonate permease protein (ssuC), an ABC transporter (ssuB), and an alkanesulfonate-binding protein (ssuA). Proteomic analyses comparing strain J3 cultures using sulfate and 6:2 FTS as sulfur source indicated that the ssu gene cluster was involved in 6:2 FTS biodegradation. Upregulated proteins included the SsuD monooxygenase, the SsuB transporter, the ABC transporter permease (SsuC), an alkanesulfonate-binding protein (SsuA), and a nitrilotriacetate monooxygenase component B. 6:2 Fluorotelomer carboxylic acid (6:2 FTCA) and 6:2 fluorotelomer unsaturated acid (6:2 FTUA) were detected as early degradation products in cultures (after 72 h) while 5:3 fluorotelomer acid (5:3 FTCA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) and perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA) were detected as later degradation products (after 168 h). This work provides biochemical and metabolic insights into 6:2 FTS biodegradation by the Actinobacterium D. aurantiaca J3, informing the fate of PFAS in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154587
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date16 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • PFAS
  • 6:2 FTS
  • Defluorination
  • Biodegradation
  • Biotransformation
  • Dietzia


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