Response of soil microbial communities to single and multiple doses of an organic pollutant

I P Thompson, M J Bailey, R J Ellis, N Maguire, A A Meharg

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40 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of 100 mu g 1,2-dichlorobenzene (1,2-DCB) g(-1) dry weight (dw) of soil introduced either as a single dose or multiple (10 fortnightly) doses of 10 mu g g(-1) dw, on the microbial biomass, diversity of culturable bacterial community and the rate of 1,2-DCB mineralisation, were compared. After 22 weeks exposure both application regimes significantly reduced total bacterial counts and viable fungal hyphal length. The single dose had the greatest overall inhibitory effect, although the extent of inhibition varied throughout the study. Total culturable bacterial counts, determined after 22 weeks exposure showed little response to 1,2-DCB, but pseudomonad counts in single and multiple treatments were reduced to 9.7 and 0.147%, respectively, of the numbers detected in the control soil. The effect of 1,2-DCB application on the taxonomic composition of the culturable bacteria community was determined by fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis. Compared to control soils, the single dose treatment had a lower percentage of Arthrobacter and Micrococcus. Multiple applications had a significant effect upon pseudomonad abundance, which represented only 2% of the identified community, compared to 45.6% in the control. The multi-dosed soils contained a high percentage of bacilli (> 25%). The effects of 1,2-DCB applications on the metabolic potential of the soil microbial community was determined by BIOLOG profiling. The number of carbon compounds utilised by the community in the multi-dosed soils (49 positives) was significantly less (P < 0.05) than detected in the single dose treatment (76) and control (66). The rate of 1,2-DCB mineralisation, determined by (CO2)-C-14 production from radiolabelled [UL-C-14] 1,2-DCB, declined throughout the study, and after 22 weeks was slightly but significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the multiply- than the singly-dosed sails. The differential response to 1,2-DCB treatments was attributed to its reduced bioavailability in soils after a single exposure, compared to multiple applications. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998


  • 1,2-dichlorobenzene
  • soil microbiology
  • microbial biomass
  • bacterial diversity
  • substrate utilization patterns
  • Pseudomonas sp
  • degradation
  • populations
  • metabolism
  • chemicals
  • bacterium
  • diversity
  • cadmium
  • putida


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