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Environmental Pollution
178, No. xx, 2013; Pages: 350 - 360

Application of 13C-stable isotope probing to identify RDX-degrading microorganisms in groundwater

Kun-Ching Cho, Do Gyun Lee, HyungKeun Roh, Mark E. Fuller, Paul B. Hatzinger, Kung-Hui Chu

Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, 3136 TAMU, 205G WERC, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3136, USA.


We employed stable isotope probing (SIP) with 13C-labeled hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) to identify active microorganisms responsible for RDX biodegradation in groundwater microcosms. Sixteen different 16S rRNA gene sequences were derived from microcosms receiving 13C-labeled RDX, suggesting the presence of microorganisms able to incorporate carbon from RDX or its breakdown products. The clones, residing in BacteroidiaClostridia, α-, β- and δ-Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes, were different from previously described RDX degraders. A parallel set of microcosms was amended with cheese whey and RDX to evaluate the influence of this co-substrate on the RDX-degrading microbial community. Cheese whey stimulated RDX biotransformation, altered the types of RDX-degrading bacteria, and decreased microbial community diversity. Results of this study suggest that RDX-degrading microorganisms in groundwater are more phylogenetically diverse than what has been inferred from studies with RDX-degrading isolates.

Keywords: RDX; Explosives; Stable isotope probing; Real-time t-RFLP; Biodegradation



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