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Short term exposure to elevated trinitrotoluene concentrations induced structural and functional changes in the soil bacterial community

Emma R Travis, Neil C Bruce, Susan J Rosser
Environmental Pollution 2008, 153 (2): 432-9
17935846
We investigated the acute impact of trinitrotoluene (TNT) contamination of soil on the aerobic bacterial community composition and function. The contamination of the environment with explosive residues presents a serious problem at sites across the world, with the highly toxic compound TNT being the most widespread explosive contaminant. We investigated the acute impact of trinitrotoluene (TNT) contamination of soil on the aerobic bacterial community composition and function. Soil microcosms were amended with a range of concentrations of TNT for 30 days. A polyphasic approach encompassing culture-independent molecular analysis by DGGE, community-level physiological profiling (CLPP) and cell enumeration revealed that the amendment of soils with TNT resulted in a shift from slower growing k-strategists towards faster growing r-strategists. Pseudomonads became prevalent at high concentrations of TNT. Pollution induced community tolerance (PICT) was observed as TNT concentrations increased. Chemical analyses revealed that TNT was reduced to its amino derivatives, products of reductive microbial transformation. The transformation to amino derivatives decreased at high concentrations of TNT, indicative of inhibition of microbial TNT transformation.

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