Microcosms were used to examine whether pesticide-primed soils could be preferentially used over nonprimed soils for bioaugmentation of on-farm biopurification systems (BPS) to improve pesticide mineralization. Microcosms containing a mixture of peat, straw and either linuron-primed soil or nonprimed soil were irrigated with clean or linuron-contaminated water. The lag time of linuron mineralization, recorded for microcosm samples, was indicative of the dynamics of the linuron-mineralizing biomass in the system. Bioaugmentation with linuron-primed soil immediately resulted in the establishment of a linuron-mineralizing capacity, which increased in size when fed with the pesticide. Also, microcosms containing nonprimed soil developed a linuron-mineralizing population, but after extended linuron feeding. Additional experiments showed that linuron-mineralization only developed with some nonprimed soils. Concomitant with the increase in linuron degradation capacity, targeted PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis showed the proliferation of a Variovorax phylotype related to the linuron-degrading Variovorax sp. SRS16 in microcosms containing linuron-primed soil, suggesting the involvement of Variovorax in linuron degradation. The correlation between the appearance of specific Variovorax phylotypes and linuron mineralization capacity was less clear in microcosms containing nonprimed soil. The data indicate that supplementation of pesticide-primed soil results in the establishment of pesticide-mineralizing populations in a BPS matrix with more certainty and more rapidly than the addition of nonprimed soil.