ABSTRACT: Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is widely used as gasoline oxygenate and octane number enhancer for more complete combustion in order to reduce the air pollution caused by motor vehicle exhaust. The possible adverse effects of MTBE on human health are of major public concern. However, information on the metabolism of MTBE in human tissues is scarce. The present study demonstrates that human cytochrome P450 2A6 is able to metabolize MTBE to tert-butyl alcohol (TBA), a major circulating metabolite and marker for exposure to MTBE. As CYP2A6 is known to be constitutively expressed in human livers, we infer that it may play a significant role in metabolism of gasoline ethers in liver tissue.
Biodegradation 09/2011; 23(2):311-8. · 2.02 Impact Factor