Author(s): Goodhead AK, Head IM, Snape JR, Davenport RJ
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Abstract OECD ready biodegradability tests have been central to understanding the biodegradation of chemicals from a regulatory perspective for many decades. They are not fit for contemporary prioritisation of chemicals based on persistence, however, due to the low concentration of inocula used, short duration and high variability between tests. Two OECD standard inoculum pretreatment methods (settlement and filtration) were investigated to observe their effect on the probability of biodegradation and associated changes in bacterial community structure and diversity of inocula sourced from the activated sludge process of wastewater treatment plants. Both settlement and filtration were shown to dramatically and significantly reduce the probability and increase the variability of biodegradation of 4-nitrophenol compared to the use of unprocessed inocula. These differences were associated with a significant hundred-fold reduction in cell numbers and solids content and a significant shift in bacterial community structure that was sometimes accompanied by significant reductions in detectable operational taxonomic unit richness and evenness. The natural variation (between different environments) and variation due to differential selection of bacterial communities (by different pretreatment methods) is offered as an explanation for the historical high variability in standard OECD ready biodegradability tests.
This article was published in Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development