The forest industry in Uruguay has grown considerably during the last decade. Eucalyptus
plantations account for 74% of the forested land, with Eucalyptus globulus
being the most widely distributed species. This industry is dedicated exclusively to the production of wood without exploiting the by-products (leaves and small branches). Eucalyptus
leaves are known to contain important amounts of essential oils composed primarily of 1,8-cineole (1,3,3-trymethyl-2-oxabicyclo[2.2.2]octane). In this work, the biotransformation of 1,8-cineole, is achieved using a native bacterium ( Rhodococcus
sp.) which was isolated from the soil of Eucalyptus
forest. A 98% of bioconversion was achieved. Three different optically pure compounds were obtained, and they were identified as 2-endo
-hydroxy-1,8-cineole and 2-oxo-1,8-cineole.