Effect of activated carbon amendment on bacterial community structure and functions in a PAH impacted urban soil.
ABSTRACT: We collected urban soil samples impacted by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a sorbent-based remediation field trial to address concerns about unwanted side-effects of 2% powdered (PAC) or granular (GAC) activated carbon amendment on soil microbiology and pollutant biodegradation. After three years, total microbial cell counts and respiration rates were highest in the GAC amended soil. The predominant bacterial community structure derived from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) shifted more strongly with time than in response to AC amendment. DGGE band sequencing revealed the presence of taxa with closest affiliations either to known PAH degraders, e.g. Rhodococcus jostii RHA-1, or taxa known to harbor PAH degraders, e.g. Rhodococcus erythropolis, in all soils. Quantification by real-time polymerase chain reaction yielded similar dioxygenases gene copy numbers in unamended, PAC-, or GAC-amended soil. PAH availability assessments in batch tests showed the greatest difference of 75% with and without biocide addition for unamended soil, while the lowest PAH availability overall was measured in PAC-amended, live soil. We conclude that AC had no detrimental effects on soil microbiology, AC-amended soils retained the potential to biodegrade PAHs, but the removal of available pollutants by biodegradation was most notable in unamended soil.
Project description:Bioremediation offers a sustainable approach for removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the environment; however, information regarding the microbial communities involved remains limited. In this study, microbial community dynamics and the abundance of the key gene (PAH-RHD?) encoding a ring hydroxylating dioxygenase involved in PAH degradation were examined during degradation of phenanthrene in a podzolic soil from the site of a former timber treatment facility. The 10,000-fold greater abundance of this gene associated with Gram-positive bacteria found in phenanthrene-amended soil compared to unamended soil indicated the likely role of Gram-positive bacteria in PAH degradation. In contrast, the abundance of the Gram-negative PAHs-RHD? gene was very low throughout the experiment. While phenanthrene induced increases in the abundance of a small number of OTUs from the Actinomycetales and Sphingomonadale, most of the remainder of the community remained stable. A single unclassified OTU from the Micrococcaceae family increased ~20-fold in relative abundance, reaching 32% of the total sequences in amended microcosms on day 7 of the experiment. The relative abundance of this same OTU increased 4.5-fold in unamended soils, and a similar pattern was observed for the second most abundant PAH-responsive OTU, classified into the Sphingomonas genus. Furthermore, the relative abundance of both of these OTUs decreased substantially between days 7 and 17 in the phenanthrene-amended and control microcosms. This suggests that their opportunistic phenotype, in addition to likely PAH-degrading ability, was determinant in the vigorous growth of dominant PAH-responsive OTUs following phenanthrene amendment. This study provides new information on the temporal response of soil microbial communities to the presence and degradation of a significant environmental pollutant, and as such has the potential to inform the design of PAH bioremediation protocols.
Project description:Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are distributed ubiquitously in the environment and form metabolites toxic to most organisms. Organic amendment of PAH contaminated soil with compost and farmyard manure has proven to be efficient for PAH bioremediation mediated by native microorganisms, even though information on the identity of PAH degraders in organic-amended soil is still scarce. Here we provide molecular insight into the bacterial communities in soil amended with compost or farmyard manure for which the degradation mass balances of 13C-labeled pyrene have been recently published and assess the relevant bacterial genera capable of degrading pyrene as a model PAH. We performed statistical analyses of bacterial genera abundance data based on total DNA and RNA (for comparison) extracted from the soil samples. The results revealed complex pyrene degrading communities with low abundance of individual degraders instead of a limited number of abundant key players. The bacterial degrader communities of the soil-compost mixture and soil fertilized with farmyard manure differed considerably in composition albeit showing similar degradation kinetics. Additional analyses were carried out on enrichment cultures and enabled the reconstruction of several nearly complete genomes, thus allowing to link microcosm and enrichment experiments. However, pyrene mineralizing bacteria enriched from the compost or unfertilized soil-compost samples did not dominate pyrene degradation in the soils. Based on the present findings, evaluations of PAH degrading microorganisms in complex soil mixtures with high organic matter content should not target abundant key degrading species, since the specific degraders may be highly diverse, of low abundance, and masked by high bacterial background.
Project description:The effect of nitrate, acetate, and hydrogen on native perchlorate-reducing bacteria (PRB) was examined by conducting microcosm tests using vadose soil collected from a perchlorate-contaminated site. The rate of perchlorate reduction was enhanced by hydrogen amendment and inhibited by acetate amendment, compared with unamendment. Nitrate was reduced before perchlorate in all amendments. In hydrogen-amended and unamended soils, nitrate delayed perchlorate reduction, suggesting that the PRB preferentially use nitrate as an electron acceptor. In contrast, nitrate eliminated the inhibitory effect of acetate amendment on perchlorate reduction and increased the rate and the extent, possibly because the preceding nitrate reduction/denitrification decreased the acetate concentration that was inhibitory to the native PRB. In hydrogen-amended and unamended soils, perchlorate reductase gene (pcrA) copies, representing PRB densities, increased with either perchlorate or nitrate reduction, suggesting that either perchlorate or nitrate stimulates the growth of the PRB. In contrast, in acetate-amended soil pcrA increased only when perchlorate was depleted: a large portion of the PRB may have not utilized nitrate in this amendment. Nitrate addition did not alter the distribution of the dominant pcrA clones in hydrogen-amended soil, likely because of the functional redundancy of PRB as nitrate-reducers/denitrifiers, whereas acetate selected different pcrA clones from those with hydrogen amendment.
Project description:Applying activated carbon (AC) to contaminated sediments is an in-situ approach to remediation with great potential. The bioavailability of persistent organic pollutants can be rapidly reduced and kept low over long periods of time. However, there are limitations to the method. The high buoyancy of AC particles makes their application difficult in the field, and AC retention on the amended site can be low in turbulent waters. Furthermore, the fine particles of powdered AC (PAC) can have adverse effects on organisms, but their remediation potential is superior to coarser, granular ACs (GAC). To tackle these shortcomings, a novel sorbent material was developed, consisting of PAC embedded into a stable, granular clay-matrix, significantly reducing buoyancy. These AC-clay granules (ACC-G) were tested for remediation potential (PCB-bioaccumulation reduction) and adverse effects on the benthic invertebrates Chironomus riparius and Lumbriculus variegatus. The novel ACC-G material was compared to GAC of the same particle size, the clay-matrix, and PAC. The findings show that ACC-G has a significantly higher remediation potential than GAC, allowing for reductions in PCB-bioaccumulation of up to 89%. Adverse effects could not be totally eliminated with ACC-G, but they were less severe than with PAC, likely due to the increased particle size.
Project description:Efficacy of bioremediation for soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may be limited by the fractions of soil-bound PAHs that are less accessible to PAH-degrading microorganisms. In previous test-tube-scale work, submicellar doses of nonionic surfactants were screened for their ability to enhance the desorption and biodegradation of residual PAHs in soil after conventional bioremediation in a laboratory-scale, slurry-phase bioreactor. Polyoxyethylene sorbitol hexaoleate (POESH) was the optimum surfactant for enhancing PAH removal, especially the high-molecular weight PAHs. This work extends that concept by treating the effluent from the slurry-phase bioreactor in a second-stage batch reactor, to which POESH was added, for an additional 7 or 12 days. Surfactant amendment removed substantial amounts of the PAHs and oxy-PAHs remaining after conventional slurry-phase bioremediation, including more than 80% of residual 4-ring PAHs. Surfactant-amended treatment decreased soil cytotoxicity, but often increased the genotoxicity of the soil as measured using the DT-40 chicken lymphocyte DNA damage response assay. Potential ecotoxicity, measured using a seed germination assay, was reduced by bioreactor treatment and was reduced further after second-stage treatment with POESH. Of bacteria previously implicated as potential PAH degraders under POESH-amended conditions in a prior study, members of the Terrimonas genus were associated with differences in high-molecular weight PAH removal in the current study. Research using submicellar doses of surfactant as a second-stage treatment step is limited and these findings can inform the design of bioremediation systems at field sites treating soil contaminated with PAHs and other hydrophobic contaminants that have low bioaccessibility.
Project description:The application of organic amendments to agricultural soil can enhance crop yield, while improving the physicochemical and biological properties of the recipient soils. However, the use of manure-derived amendments as fertilizers entails environmental risks, such as the contamination of soil and crops with antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). In order to delve into these risks, we applied dairy cow manure-derived amendments (slurry, fresh manure, aged manure), obtained from a conventional and an organic farm, to soil. Subsequently, lettuce and wheat plants were grown in the amended soils. After harvest, the abundance of 95 ARGs and MGE-genes from the amended soils and plants were determined by high-throughput qPCR. The structure of soil prokaryotic communities was determined by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and qPCR. The absolute abundance of ARGs and MGE-genes differed between treatments (amended vs. unamended), origins of amendment (conventional vs. organic), and types of amendment (slurry vs. fresh manure vs. aged manure). Regarding ARG-absolute abundances in the amendments themselves, higher values were usually found in slurry vs. fresh or aged manure. These abundances were generally higher in soil than in plant samples, and higher in wheat grain than in lettuce plants. Lettuce plants fertilized with conventional amendments showed higher absolute abundances of tetracycline resistance genes, compared to those amended with organic amendments. No single treatment could be identified as the best or worst treatment regarding the risk of antibiotic resistance in soil and plant samples. Within the same treatment, the resistome risk differed between the amendment, the amended soil and, finally, the crop. In other words, according to our data, the resistome risk in manure-amended crops cannot be directly inferred from the analysis of the amendments themselves. We concluded that, depending on the specific question under study, the analysis of the resistome risk should specifically focus on the amendment, the amended soil or the crop.
Project description:Lignin is often the most difficult portion of plant biomass to degrade, with fungi generally thought to dominate during late stage decomposition. Lignin in feedstock plant material represents a barrier to more efficient plant biomass conversion and can also hinder enzymatic access to cellulose, which is critical for biofuels production. Tropical rain forest soils in Puerto Rico are characterized by frequent anoxic conditions and fluctuating redox, suggesting the presence of lignin-degrading organisms and mechanisms that are different from known fungal decomposers and oxygen-dependent enzyme activities. We explored microbial lignin-degraders by burying bio-traps containing lignin-amended and unamended biosep beads in the soil for 1, 4, 13 and 30 weeks. At each time point, phenol oxidase and peroxidase enzyme activity was found to be elevated in the lignin-amended versus the unamended beads, while cellulolytic enzyme activities were significantly depressed in lignin-amended beads. Quantitative PCR of bacterial communities showed more bacterial colonization in the lignin-amended compared to the unamended beads after one and four weeks, suggesting that the lignin supported increased bacterial abundance. The microbial community was analyzed by small subunit 16S ribosomal RNA genes using microarray (PhyloChip) and by high-throughput amplicon pyrosequencing based on universal primers targeting bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic communities. Community trends were significantly affected by time and the presence of lignin on the beads. Lignin-amended beads have higher relative abundances of representatives from the phyla Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria compared to unamended beads. This study suggests that in low and fluctuating redox soils, bacteria could play a role in anaerobic lignin decomposition.
Project description:Adding biochar to soil has environmental and agricultural potential due to its long-term carbon sequestration capacity and its ability to improve crop productivity. Recent studies have demonstrated that soil-applied biochar promotes the systemic resistance of plants to several prominent foliar pathogens. One potential mechanism for this phenomenon is root-associated microbial elicitors whose presence is somehow augmented in the biochar-amended soils. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of biochar amendment on the root-associated bacterial community composition of mature sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants. Molecular fingerprinting (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) of 16S rRNA gene fragments showed a clear differentiation between the root-associated bacterial community structures of biochar-amended and control plants. The pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons from the rhizoplane of both treatments generated a total of 20,142 sequences, 92 to 95% of which were affiliated with the Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes phyla. The relative abundance of members of the Bacteroidetes phylum increased from 12 to 30% as a result of biochar amendment, while that of the Proteobacteria decreased from 71 to 47%. The Bacteroidetes-affiliated Flavobacterium was the strongest biochar-induced genus. The relative abundance of this group increased from 4.2% of total root-associated operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in control samples to 19.6% in biochar-amended samples. Additional biochar-induced genera included chitin and cellulose degraders (Chitinophaga and Cellvibrio, respectively) and aromatic compound degraders (Hydrogenophaga and Dechloromonas). We hypothesize that these biochar-augmented genera may be at least partially responsible for the beneficial effect of biochar amendment on plant growth and viability.
Project description:As Earth's climate warms, the massive stores of carbon found in soil are predicted to become depleted, and leave behind a smaller carbon pool that is less accessible to microbes. At a long-term forest soil-warming experiment in central Massachusetts, soil respiration and bacterial diversity have increased, while fungal biomass and microbially-accessible soil carbon have decreased. Here, we evaluate how warming has affected the microbial community's capability to degrade chemically-complex soil carbon using lignin-amended BioSep beads. We profiled the bacterial and fungal communities using PCR-based methods and completed extracellular enzyme assays as a proxy for potential community function. We found that lignin-amended beads selected for a distinct community containing bacterial taxa closely related to known lignin degraders, as well as members of many genera not previously noted as capable of degrading lignin. Warming tended to drive bacterial community structure more strongly in the lignin beads, while the effect on the fungal community was limited to unamended beads. Of those bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) enriched by the warming treatment, many were enriched uniquely on lignin-amended beads. These taxa may be contributing to enhanced soil respiration under warming despite reduced readily available C availability. In aggregate, these results suggest that there is genetic potential for chemically complex soil carbon degradation that may lead to extended elevated soil respiration with long-term warming.
Project description:Addition of activated carbon to contaminated sediment is an established means of remediation but its applicability to sediments high in organic carbon is presently unknown. We evaluated the effects of adding either granular activated carbon (GAC) or pelletized fine-grained activated carbon (PfAC, containing???50% AC) to contaminated sediments from Lake Apopka featuring a very high total organic carbon content (?39% w/w dry). Sediments showing background levels of legacy pesticides were spiked with a mixture of 5 chemicals (p,p'-DDE, dieldrin, triclosan, triclocarban, and fipronil) to a nominal concentration of 2??g/g sediment for each chemical. Following incubation of spiked sediments with the addition of activated carbon for 30 days, we assessed the success on limiting bioaccumulation using Lumbriculus variegatus (blackworm). In contaminant-spiked sediments amended with PfAC, blackworm body burdens of triclosan, triclocarban, and fipronil decreased by >50% and those of p,p'-DDE and dieldrin decreased by <30%. GAC addition to spiked sediments was less impactful, and yielded notable benefits in worm body burden reduction only for fipronil (40%). Fipronil achieved high treatment efficiency within the 30 day amendment with both GAC and PfAC. This is the first study to examine AC treatment in artificially contaminated sediments intrinsically very rich in organic matter content. PfAC exhibited superior performance over GAC for mitigating the uptake of certain organochlorines by aquatic organisms. These results indicate that further studies focusing on additional types of sediments and a broader spectrum of hydrophobic pollutants are warranted.