, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 618-623

Biodegradation of atrazine under denitrifying conditions

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Anaerobic biodegradation of atrazine by the bacterial isolate M91-3 was characterized with respect to mineralization, metabolite formation, and denitrification. The ability of the isolate to enhance atrazine biodegradation in anaerobic sediment slurries was also investigated. The organism utilized atrazine as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen under anoxic conditions in fixed-film (glass beads) batch column systems. Results of HPLC and TLC radiochromatography suggested that anaerobic biotransformation of atrazine by microbial isolate M91-3 involved hydroxyatrazine formation. Ring cleavage was demonstrated by 14CO2 evolution. Denitrification was confirmed by detection of 15N2 in headspace samples of K15NO3-amended anaerobic liquid cultures. In aquatic sediments, mineralization of uniformly ring-labeled [14C]atrazine occurred in both M91-3-inoculated and uninoculated sediment. Inoculation of sediments with M91-3 did not significantly enhance anaerobic mineralization of atrazine as compared to uninoculated sediment, which suggests the presence of indigenous organisms capable of anaerobic atrazine biodegradation. Results of this study suggest that the use of M91-3 in a fixed-film bioreactor may have applications in the anaerobic removal of atrazine and nitrate from aqueous media.

Received: 3 September 1997 / Received revision: 4 December 1997 / Accepted: 2 January 1998