Screening and monitoring microbial xenobiotics' biodegradation by rapid, inexpensive and easy to perform microplate UV-absorbance measurements

Bastian Herzog, Hilde Lemmer, Harald Horn, Elisabeth Müller
BMC Research Notes 2014, 7: 101

BACKGROUND: Evaluation of xenobiotics biodegradation potential, shown here for benzotriazoles (corrosion inhibitors) and sulfamethoxazole (sulfonamide antibiotic) by microbial communities and/or pure cultures normally requires time intensive and money consuming LC/GC methods that are, in case of laboratory setups, not always needed.

RESULTS: The usage of high concentrations to apply a high selective pressure on the microbial communities/pure cultures in laboratory setups, a simple UV-absorbance measurement (UV-AM) was developed and validated for screening a large number of setups, requiring almost no preparation and significantly less time and money compared to LC/GC methods. This rapid and easy to use method was evaluated by comparing its measured values to LC-UV and GC-MS/MS results. Furthermore, its application for monitoring and screening unknown activated sludge communities (ASC) and mixed pure cultures has been tested and approved to detect biodegradation of benzotriazole (BTri), 4- and 5-tolyltriazole (4-TTri, 5-TTri) as well as SMX.

CONCLUSIONS: In laboratory setups, xenobiotics concentrations above 1.0 mg L(-1) without any enrichment or preparation could be detected after optimization of the method. As UV-AM does not require much preparatory work and can be conducted in 96 or even 384 well plate formats, the number of possible parallel setups and screening efficiency was significantly increased while analytic and laboratory costs were reduced to a minimum.

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