Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology vol:98 issue:2 pages:931-943
Effects of environmental dissolved organic matter (eDOM) that consists of various low concentration carbonic compounds on pollutant biodegradation by bacteria are poorly understood, especially when it concerns synergistic xenobiotic-degrading consortia where degradation depends on interspecies metabolic interactions. This study examines the impact of the quality and quantity of eDOM, supplied as secondary C-source, on the structure, composition and pesticide-degrading activity of a triple-species bacterial consortium in which the members synergistically degrade the phenylurea herbicide linuron, when grown as biofilms. Biofilms developing on 10 mg L−1 linuron showed a steady-state linuron degradation efficiency of approximately 85 %. The three bacterial strains co-localized in the biofilms indicating syntrophic interactions. Subsequent feeding with eDOM or citrate in addition to linuron resulted into changes in linuron-degrading activity. A decrease in linuron-degrading activity was especially recorded in case of co-feeding with citrate and eDOM of high quality and was always associated with accumulation of the primary metabolite 3,4-dichloroaniline. Improvement of linuron degradation was especially observed with more recalcitrant eDOM. Addition of eDOM/citrate formulations altered biofilm architecture and species composition but without loss of any of the strains and of co-localization. Compositional shifts correlated with linuron degradation efficiencies. When the feed was restored to only linuron, the linuron-degrading activity rapidly changed to the level before the mixed-substrate feed. Meanwhile only minor changes in biofilm composition and structure were recorded, indicating that observed eDOM/citrate effects had been primarily due to repression/stimulation of linuron catabolic activity rather than to biofilm characteristics.