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Bacterial Community Composition and Genes for Herbicide Degradation in a Stormwater Wetland Collecting Herbicide Runoff

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Stormwater wetlands collect and attenuate runoff-related herbicides, limiting their transport into aquatic ecosystems. Knowledge on wetland bacterial communities with respect to herbicide dissipation is scarce. Previous studies showed that hydrological and hydrochemical conditions, including pesticide removal capacity, may change from spring to summer in stormwater wetlands. We hypothesized that these changes alter bacterial communities, which, in turn, influence pesticide degradation capacities in stormwater wetland. Here, we report on bacterial community changes in a stormwater wetland exposed to pesticide runoff, and the occurrence of trz, atz, puh, and phn genes potentially involved in the biodegradation of simazine, diuron, and glyphosate. Based on T-RFLP analysis of amplified 16S rRNA genes, a response of bacterial communities to pesticide exposure was not detected. Changes in stormwater wetland bacterial community mainly followed seasonal variations in the wetland. Hydrological and hydrochemical fluctuations and vegetation development in the wetland presumably contributed to prevent detection of effects of pesticide exposure on overall bacterial community. End point PCR assays for trz, atz, phn, and puh genes associated with herbicide degradation were positive for several environmental samples, which suggest that microbial degradation contributes to pesticide dissipation. However, a correlation of corresponding genes with herbicide concentrations could not be detected. Overall, this study represents a first step to identify changes in bacterial community associated with the presence of pesticides and their degradation in stormwater wetland.

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We thank Fabrice Martin-Laurent for providing reference plasmids with herbicide degradation genes.


This research has been funded by the Research Program EC2CO (CNRS-INSU) VitiFLUX and by the PhytoRET project (C.21) of the European INTERREG IV program Upper Rhine.

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Correspondence to Gwenaël Imfeld.

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Matrix of peaks intensities obtained for each sample after T-RFLP analysis. (DOCX 21 kb)

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Mauffrey, F., Baccara, P., Gruffaz, C. et al. Bacterial Community Composition and Genes for Herbicide Degradation in a Stormwater Wetland Collecting Herbicide Runoff. Water Air Soil Pollut 228, 452 (2017).

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  • Pesticides
  • Wetlands
  • Gene-based bioindication
  • Bacterial communities