Cells of the gram-negative bacterium Ralstonia sp. strain SBUG 290 grown in the presence of biphenyl are able to cooxidize dibenzofuran which has been 1,2-hydroxylated. Meta cleavage of the 1, 2-dihydroxydibenzofuran between carbon atoms 1 and 9b produced 2-hydroxy-4-(3'-oxo-3'H-benzofuran-2'-yliden)but-2-enoic acid, which was degraded completely via salicylic acid. The presence of these intermediates indicates a degradation mechanism for dibenzofuran via lateral dioxygenation by Ralstonia sp. strain SBUG 290.