Nitration Enzyme Toolkit for the Biosynthesis of Energetic Materials
Technical Report,09 Jan 2013,30 Sep 2017
OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LAB TN OAK RIDGE
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The most common secondary explosives and propellants contain nitro groups that are produced using chemical nitration reactions. Conventional manufacturing processes for these energetic materials often use hazardous and corrosive substances, such as nitric acid, and produce hazardous waste streams. Highly reactive nitration reactions can also create multiple isomers and by-products that degrade performance of the energetic products. To reduce the environmental impacts of these processes, new strategies are needed to produce energetic chemicals and precursors. This project identified new bionitration mechanisms used by microorganisms to produce nitro-containing natural products. We investigated biosynthetic pathways for 2-nitroimidazole azomycin, N-nitroglycine, and nitrophenols. Five new enzymes were discovered to catalyze 2-aminoimidazole and 2-nitroimidazole biosynthesis in a revised pathway from Streptomyces eurocidicus. Stable isotope labeling experiments identified L-arginine and glycine as precursors for the nitramine N-nitroglycine in Streptomyces noursei. Comparative genomic and proteomic analyses identified a set of proteins that could be responsible for N-nitroglycine biosynthesis. Studies of Salegentibacter sp. demonstrated that nitrate reduction to nitrite was associated with bionitration of phenolic substrates, producing a diverse set of nitrophenols. This growing bionitration toolkit represents a diverse range of nitration mechanisms and products that can be adapted for the green chemistry production of nitro compounds and precursors.
- Ammunition and Explosives