Microbial Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 145–160 | Cite as

Microbial community responses to atrazine exposure and nutrient availability: Linking degradation capacity to community structure

  • E. D. Rhine
  • J. J. Fuhrmann
  • M. Radosevich


Repeated pesticide exposure may enhance biodegradation through selective enrichment of pesticide-metabolizing microorganisms, particularly when the compound is used as a C and energy source. The relationship between pesticide application history and degradation rate is unclear when the chemical is utilized as a nutrient source other than C. Atrazine, a poor source of C and energy, was chosen as a model compound because it can serve as an N source for some microorganisms. Soils with (H-soil) and without (NH-soil) prior s-triazine treatment history were repeatedly exposed to atrazine and a variety of C and N source amendments. Exposure to atrazine and inorganic-N availability were the dominant factors leading to the development of microbial communities with an enhanced capacity to degrade atrazine. The density of the atrazine-degrading microorganisms increased immediately, up to 1000-fold, with atrazine exposure in the H-soil, but comparable increases were not observed in the NH-soil until 12 weeks following laboratory acclimation, despite high rates of atrazine mineralization in these soils immediately following the acclimation period. Whole-soil fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis showed that the application of alternative C and N sources in addition to atrazine resulted in a microbial community composition that was distinctly different from that in either the atrazine-alone treatment or water controls for both the H- and NH-soils. These data suggest that the microbial communities in both soils were altered differently in response to the treatments but developed a similar enhanced capacity to mineralize atrazine.


Pectin Fatq Acid Methyl Ester Atrazine Much Probable Number Cyanuric Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. D. Rhine
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. J. Fuhrmann
    • 1
  • M. Radosevich
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agricultural and Natural ResourcesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnology CenterRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Biosystems Engineering and Environmental ScienceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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