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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 125385, 15 pages
Review Article

Current Status on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Microbial Degradation of Nicotine

Department of Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry 605014, India

Received 18 August 2013; Accepted 14 October 2013

Academic Editors: N. Ercal and T. Niu

Copyright © 2013 Raman Gurusamy and Sakthivel Natarajan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bioremediation is one of the most promising methods to clean up polluted environments using highly efficient potent microbes. Microbes with specific enzymes and biochemical pathways are capable of degrading the tobacco alkaloids including highly toxic heterocyclic compound, nicotine. After the metabolic conversion, these nicotinophilic microbes use nicotine as the sole carbon, nitrogen, and energy source for their growth. Various nicotine degradation pathways such as demethylation pathway in fungi, pyridine pathway in Gram-positive bacteria, pyrrolidine pathway, and variant of pyridine and pyrrolidine pathways in Gram-negative bacteria have been reported. In this review, we discussed the nicotine-degrading pathways of microbes and their enzymes and biotechnological applications of nicotine intermediate metabolites.