Fluorine is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and inert plastic resins. Fluoride ion is obtained industrially as a by-product from phosphate fertilizer plants and is widely used as an additive to municipal drinking water for the purpose of hardening teeth. Industrial organofluorine compounds are becoming increasingly prevalent and are of concern as environmental pollutants; the European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee has further information.

Biodegradative pathways for trifluoroacetate and methyl fluoride are known (Visscher et al, 1994; Hyman et al, 1994). Although not as common as organochlorines or organobromines, biogenic organofluorines are known to be produced by some plants and bacteria (reviewed by Murphy et al, 2003). An enzyme from Streptomyces cattleya that catalyzes the formation of fluorine-carbon bonds has been identified and characterized (Dong et al, 2004).

For more information:

Search Medline for fluorine metabolism AND bacteria

ToxFAQs: Fluoride, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine

Visscher PT, Culbertson CW, Oremiand RS. Degradation of trifluoroacetate in oxic and anoxic sediments. Nature. 1994 Jun;369(6483):729-31.

 


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