, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 19-29

Microbial consortia that degrade 2,4-DNT by interspecies metabolism: isolation and characterisation

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Two consortia, isolated by selective enrichment from a soil sample of anitroaromatic-contaminated site, degraded 2,4-DNT as their sole nitrogensource without accumulating one or more detectable intermediates. Thoughoriginating from the same sample, the optimised consortia had no commonmembers, indicating that selective enrichment resulted in different end points.Consortium 1 and consortium 2 contained four and six bacterial speciesrespectively, but both had two members that were able to collectivelydegrade 2,4-DNT. Variovorax paradoxus VM685 (consortium 1)and Pseudomonas sp. VM908 (consortium 2) initiate the catabolismof 2,4-DNT by an oxidation step, thereby releasing nitrite and forming4-methyl-5-nitrocatechol (4M5NC). Both strains contained a gene similarto the dntAa gene encoding 2,4-DNT dioxygenase. They subsequentlymetabolised 4M5NC to 2-hydroxy-5-methylquinone (2H5MQ) and nitrite,indicative of DntB or 4M5NC monooxygenase activity. A second consortiummember, Pseudomonas marginalis VM683 (consortium 1) and P.aeruginosa VM903, Sphingomonas sp. VM904, Stenotrophomonasmaltophilia VM905 or P. viridiflava VM907 (consortium 2), was foundto be indispensable for efficient growth of the consortia on 2,4-DNT and forefficient metabolisation of the intermediates 4M5NC and 2H5MQ. Knowledgeabout the interactions in this step of the degradation pathway is rather limited.In addition, both consortia can use 2,4-DNT as sole nitrogen and carbon source.A gene similar to the dntD gene of Burkholderia sp. strain DNT that catalyses ring fission was demonstrated by DNA hybridisation in the secondmember strains. To our knowledge, this is the first time that consortia are shownto be necessary for 2,4-DNT degradation.