Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology issue:eprint pages:1-10
In nature, pesticides are often present as micropollutants with concentrations too low for efficient biodegradation and growth of heterotrophic pollutant degrading bacteria. Instead, organic carbon present in environmental dissolved organic matter (eDOM) constitutes the main carbon source in nature. Information on how natural organic carbon affects degradation of pollutants and micropollutants in particular, is however poor. Linuron degrading Variovorax sp. strains SRS16, WDL1 and PBLH6 and a triple-species bacterial consortium from which WDL1 originated, were examined for their ability to degrade linuron at micropollutant concentrations and the effect hereon of different eDOM formulations of varying biodegradability as supplementary C-source was explored. Individual strains and the consortium degraded linuron at initial concentrations as low as 1 µg L-1 till concentrations below 4 ng L-1. Degradation kinetics differed among strains with rates that differed up to 70-fold at the lowest linuron concentrations and with lag phases ranging from 0 to 7 days. Linuron biodegradation by the individual strains was inhibited by an easily biodegradable compound such as citrate but stimulated by eDOM at a linuron concentration of 10 mg L-1. Effects were strongly reduced or became non-existent at micropollutant linuron concentrations. Effects of eDOM on degradation at 10 mg L-1 linuron by WDL1 were reduced when WDL1 was incubated together with its original consortium members. This is the first report on eDOM effects on degradation of pesticides at micropollutant concentrations and indicates these effects are limited and depend on linuron and eDOM concentrations, eDOM quality and the bacterial culture.