Microbial community responses to atrazine exposure and nutrient availability: Linking degradation capacity to community structure
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.
KeywordsPectin Fatq Acid Methyl Ester Atrazine Much Probable Number Cyanuric Acid
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