Bacteria and toxic plants don't sound like the most helpful of things, but in studies into the biological formation of fluorine containing compounds, they seem to be very useful.
Bacteria and toxic plants don’t sound like the most helpful of things, but in studies into the biological formation of fluorine containing compounds, they seem to be very useful.
Only two bacteria are able to make organic compounds that contain fluorine. One of these micro-organisms, Streptomyces cattleya, has been under scrutiny by David O’Hagan and his UK-based team at the University of St Andrews and Queen’s University, Belfast, and has thrown up some interesting results. The toxin fluoroacetate, found in some African and Australian plants, is one of the organofluorine metabolite compounds that S. cattleya can biosynthesise. O’Hagan’s team have deciphered a key step in the pathway that S. cattleya takes to make fluoroacetate. The enzyme involved in this step has been identified and O’Hagan predicts that key fluorometabolites might now be reached ’from inorganic fluoride ion, rather than noxious fluorination agents’.
S L Cobb et al, Chem. Commun., 2004, 592 <MAN>b400754a</MAN>