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The Genus Phenylobacterium

The genus Phenylobacterium comprises a single species called P. immobile, which is remarkable for its extremely limited nutritional spectrum. All strains isolated and described hitherto grow optimally only on artificial compounds like chloridazon, antipyrin, and pyramidon (formulas in Fig. 1). Chloridazon, formerly called pyrazon, is the active ingredient of the herbicide Pyramin®, which is used for the control of broadleaf weeds in sugar beet and beet root cultures. The fact that the breakdown of this herbicide is a microbial process was demonstrated by studies with soil samples, including heat-sterilized soil (Drescher and Otto, 1969; Frank and Switzer, 1969). Engvild and Jensen (1969) described the isolation of bacteria capable of growth on chloridazon as sole source of carbon and energy. At the same time and independently, Fröhner et al. (1970) isolated chloridazon-degrading bacteria that proved to be similar to the organisms of Engvild and Jensen. Meanwhile,