Culture-independent analysis of linuron-mineralizing microbiota and functions in on-farm biopurification systems via DNA-stable isotope probing: comparison with enrichment culture

Our understanding of the microorganisms involved in in situ biodegradation of xenobiotics, like pesticides, in natural and engineered environments is poor. On-farm biopurification systems (BPSs) treat farm-produced pesticide-contaminated wastewater to reduce surface water pollution. BPSs are a labor and cost-efficient technology but are still mainly operated as black box systems. We used DNA-stable isotope probing (DNA-SIP) and classical enrichment to be informed about the organisms responsibl for in situ degradation of the phenylurea herbicide linuron in a BPS matrix. DNA-SIP identified Ramlibacter, Variovorax, and an unknown Comamonadaceae genus as the dominant linuron assimilators. While linuron-degrading Variovorax strains have been isolated repeatedly, Ramlibacter has never been associated before with linuron degradation. Genes and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) previously linked to linuron catabolism were enriched in the heavy DNA-SIP fractions, suggesting their involvement in in situ linuron assimilation. BPS material free cultivation of linuron degraders from the same BPS matrix resulted in a community dominated by Variovorax, while Ramlibacter was not observed. Our study provides evidence for the role of Variovorax in in situ linuron biodegradation in a BPS, alongside other organisms like Ramlibacter, and further shows that cultivation results in a biased representation of the in situ linuron-assimilating bacterial populations.



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