Springer

Changes in soil microbial community composition induced by cometabolism of toluene and trichloroethylene

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The effects of trichloroethylene (TCE) on microbial community composition were analyzed by reverse sample genome probing. Soil enrichments were incubated in dessicators containing an organic phase of either 1 or 10% (w/w) toluene in vacuum pump oil, delivering constant equilibrium aqueous concentrations of 16 and 143mg/l, respectively. Increasing the equilibrium aqueous concentration of TCE from 0 to 10mg/l led to shifts in community composition at 16, but not at 143mg/l of toluene. In closed system co-degradation studies, TCE at an aqueous concentration of 1mg/1 was effectively degraded by toluene-degrading soil enrichments once the aqueous toluene concentration dropped below 25mg/l. Little TCE degradation was observed at higher toluene concentrations (50–250mg/l). The results indicate that TCE changes microbial community composition under conditions where it is being actively metabolized.

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