Author(s): Smith D, Alvey S, Crowley DE
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Abstract Atrazine degradation previously has been shown to be carried out by individual bacterial species or by relatively simple consortia that have been isolated using enrichment cultures. Here, the degradative pathway for atrazine was examined for a complex 8-membered enrichment culture. The species composition of the culture was determined by PCR-DGGE. The bacterial species included Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Caulobacter crescentus, Pseudomonas putida, Sphingomonas yaniokuyae, Nocardia sp., Rhizobium sp., Flavobacterium oryzihabitans, and Variovorax paradoxus. All of the isolates were screened for the presence of known genes that function for atrazine degradation including atzA,-B,-C,-D,-E,-F and trzD,-N. Dechlorination of atrazine, which was obligatory for complete mineralization, was carried out exclusively by Nocardia sp., which contained the trzN gene. Following dechlorination, the resulting product, hydroxyatrazine was further degraded via two separate pathways. In one pathway Nocardia converted hydroxyatrazine to N-ethylammelide via an unidentified gene product. In the second pathway, hydroxyatrazine generated by Nocardia sp. was hydrolyzed to N-isopropylammelide by Rhizobium sp., which contained the atzB gene. Each member of the enrichment culture contained atzC, which is responsible for ring cleavage, but none of the isolates carried the atzD,-E, or -F genes. Each member further contained either trzD or exhibited urease activity. The enrichment culture was destabilized by loss of Nocardia sp. when grown on ethylamine, ethylammelide, and cyanuric acid, after which the consortium was no longer able to degrade atrazine. The analysis of this enrichment culture highlights the broad level bacterial community interactions that may be involved in atrazine degradation in nature.
This article was published in FEMS Microbiol Ecol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology