Genomics-informed insights into microbial degradation of N,N-dimethylformamide

Junhui Li, Paul Dijkstra, Qihong Lu, Shanquan Wang, Shaohua Chen, Deqiang Li, Zhiheng Wang, Zhenglei Jia, Lu Wang, Hojae Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Effective degradation of N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF), an important industrial waste product, is challenging as only few bacterial isolates are known to degrade DMF. Aerobic remediation has typically been used, whereas anoxic remediation attempts are recently made, using nitrate as one electron acceptor, and ideally include methane as a byproduct. Here, we analyzed 20,762 complete genomes and 28 constructed draft genomes for genes associated with DMF degradation. We identified 952 genomes that harbor genes involved in DMF degradation, expanding the known diversity of prokaryotes with these metabolic capabilities. Our findings suggest plasmids play important roles in DMF degradation in the order Rhizobiales and genus Paracoccus, but not in most other lineages. Degradation pathway analysis reveals that most putative DMF degraders using aerobic Pathway I will accumulate methylamine intermediate, while around 6% of the DMF degraders that are primarily members of Paracoccus, Rhodococcus, Achromobacter, and Pseudomonas could potentially mineralize DMF completely. The aerobic DMF degradation via Pathway II is more common than thought and is primarily present in α-, and β-Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Around half (446/952) of putative DMF degraders could grow with nitrate anaerobically (Pathway III), however, genes for the use of methyl-CoM to produce methane were not found. These analyses suggest that microbial consortia could be more advantageous in DMF degradation than pure culture, particularly for methane production under the anaerobic condition. The identified genomes and plasmids form an important foundation for optimizing bioremediation of DMF-containing wastewaters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105283
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Biodegradation pathways
  • Denitrification
  • Genomics
  • Methanogenesis
  • Plasmid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Biomaterials
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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