Chlorobenzoate-degrading bacteria in similar pristine soils exhibit different community structures and population dynamics in response to anthropogenic 2-, 3-, and 4-chlorobenzoate levels. Academic Article uri icon


  • A study was conducted to determine the diversity of 2-, 3-, and 4-chlorobenzoate (CB) degraders in two pristine soils with similar physical and chemical characteristics. Surface soils were collected from forested sites and amended with 500 microg of 2-, 3-, or 4-CB g(-1) soil. The CB levels and degrader numbers were monitored throughout the study. Degraders were isolated, grouped by DNA fingerprints, identified via 16S rDNA sequences, and screened for plasmids. The CB genes in selected degraders were isolated and/or sequenced. In the Madera soil, 2-CB and 4-CB degraded within 11 and 42 d, respectively, but 3-CB did not degrade. In contrast, 3-CB and 4-CB degraded in the Oversite soil within 14 and 28 d, respectively, while 2-CB did not degrade. Approximately 10(7) CFU g(-1) of degraders were detected in the Madera soil with 2-CB, and the Oversite soil with 3- and 4-CB. No degraders were detected in the Madera soil with 4-CB even though the 4-CB degraded. Nearly all of the 2-CB degraders isolated from the Madera soil were identified as a Burkholderia sp. containing chromosomally encoded degradative genes. In contrast, several different 3- and 4-CB degraders were isolated from the Oversite soil, and their populations changed as CB degradation progressed. Most of these 3-CB degraders were identified as Burkholderia spp. while the majority of 4-CB degraders were identified as Bradyrhizobium spp. Several of the 3-CB degraders contained the degradative genes on large plasmids, and there was variation between the plasmids in different isolates. When a fresh sample of Madera soil was amended with 50, 100, or 200 microg 3-CB g(-1), 3-CB degradation occurred, suggesting that 500 microg 3-CB g(-1) was toxic to the degraders. Also, different 3-CB degraders were isolated from the Madera soil at each of the three lower levels of 3-CB. No 2-CB degradation was detected in the Oversite soil even at lower 2-CB levels. These results indicate that the development of 2-, 3-, and 4-CB degrader populations is site-specific and that 2-, 3-, and 4-CB are degraded by different bacterial populations in pristine soils. These results also imply that the microbial ecology of two soils that develop under similar biotic and abiotic environments can be quite different.

published proceedings

  • Microb Ecol

author list (cited authors)

  • Gentry, T. J., Wang, G., Rensing, C., & Pepper, I. L.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Gentry, TJ||Wang, G||Rensing, C||Pepper, IL

publication date

  • January 2004