Free hamamelose [2-C- (hydroxymethyl) -ᴰ-ribose] occurs in almost all higher plants, but except a reduction to the corresponding sugar alcohol (hamamelitol) , no metabolism of this branched chain hexose could be detected in plants until now. Therefore we tried to find microorganisms which would allow us to study the catabolism of hamamelose. A strain of Pseudomonas (“H 1”), showing dependence between growth and hamamelose concentration in the medium (Fig. 1), was isolated from soil on which Primula clusiana was grown (this plant contains large amounts of hamamelose and hamamelitol). However, this organism needs citrate besides hamamelose for growth.
When “H 1” was incubated in a phosphate buffer containing only 14C-labelled hamamelose, hamamelonic acid was the sole radioactive product formed (Tables 2, 3, 4).
As no further degradation of hamamelonic acid by “H 1” could be detected, we conclude that this organism uses hamamelose as a hydrogen source only. Thus it becomes reasonable that “H 1” needs an additional carbon source (citrate) for growth.
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