The most significant aspect in microbial metabolisms, especially those of bacteria and archaea, is their marvelously wide acceptability of substrate electron donors and acceptors. This feature makes them to be attractive catalysts for environmental biotechnology in terms of degradation of harmful recalcitrant compounds, including hydrocarbons. Transformation of highly reduced and inert hydrocarbon compounds is with no doubt a challenging biochemical reaction for a single enzyme. However, several multi-component enzyme systems enable microorganisms to utilize hydrocarbons as carbon and energy (electron) sources. Initial biological attack to hydrocarbons is, in most cases, the hydroxylation that requires molecular dioxygen as a co-substrate. Dioxygen also contributes to the ring cleavage reaction of homo- and hetero-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Although the molecular dioxygen is omnipresent and highly soluble in water, activation and splitting this triplet ground-state molecule to wed with difficult hydrocarbons need special devices. Non-heme iron, heme iron, or flavin nucleotide was designated as a major hidden dagger for this purpose.
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