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Microbial Community Analysis Provides Insights into the Effects of Tetrahydrofuran on 1,4-Dioxane Biodegradation.


ABSTRACT: Tetrahydrofuran (THF) is known to induce the biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane (dioxane), an emerging contaminant, but the mechanisms by which THF affects dioxane biodegradation in microbial communities are not well understood. To fill this knowledge gap, changes in the microbial community structure in microcosm experiments with synthetic medium and landfill leachate were examined over time using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and functional gene quantitative PCR assays. The overarching hypothesis being tested was that THF promoted dioxane biodegradation by increasing the abundance of dioxane-degrading bacteria in the consortium. The data revealed that in experiments with synthetic medium, the addition of THF significantly increased the abundance of Pseudonocardia, a genus with several representatives that can grow on both dioxane and THF, and of Rhodococ cus ruber, a species that can use THF as the primary growth substrate while cometabolizing dioxane. However, in similar experiments with landfill leachate, only R. ruber was significantly enriched. When the THF concentration was higher than the dioxane concentration, THF competitively inhibited dioxane degradation since dioxane degradation was negligible, while the dioxane-degrading bacteria and the corresponding THF/dioxane monooxygenase gene copies increased by a few orders of magnitude.IMPORTANCE Widespread in groundwater and carcinogenic to humans, 1,4-dioxane (dioxane) is attracting significant attention in recent years. Advanced oxidation processes can effectively remove dioxane but require high energy consumption and operation costs. Biological removal of dioxane is of particular interest due to the ability of some bacteria to mineralize dioxane at a low energy cost. Although dioxane is generally considered recalcitrant to biodegradation, more than 20 types of bacteria can degrade dioxane as the sole electron donor substrate or the secondary electron donor substrate. In the latter case, tetrahydrofuran (THF) is commonly studied as the primary electron donor substrate. Previous work has shown that THF promotes dioxane degradation at a low THF concentration but inhibits dioxane degradation at a high THF concentration. Our work expanded on the previous work by mechanically examining the effects of THF on dioxane degradation in a microbial community context.

SUBMITTER: Xiong Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6532048 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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