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Influence of low oxygen tensions and sorption to sediment black carbon on biodegradation of pyrene

AuthorsOrtega Calvo, J. J. ; Gschwend, P. M.
Issue Date2010
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationApplied and Environmental Microbiology 76(13): 4430-4437 (2010)
AbstractSorption to sediment black carbon (BC) may limit the aerobic biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in resuspension events and intact sediment beds. We examined this hypothesis experimentally under conditions that were realistic in terms of oxygen concentrations and BC content. A new method, based on synchronous fluorescence observations of C-pyrene, was developed for continuously measuring the uptake of dissolved pyrene by Mycobacterium gilvum VM552, a representative dégrader of PAHs. The effect of oxygen and pyrene concentrations on pyrene uptake followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics, resulting in a dissolved oxygen half-saturation constant (Kom) of 14.1 μM and a dissolved pyrene half-saturation constant (Kpm) of 6 nM. The fluorescence of 14C-pyrene in air-saturated suspensions of sediments and induced cells followed time courses that reflected simultaneous desorption and biodegradation of pyrene, ultimately causing a quasi-steady-state concentration of dissolved pyrene balancing desorptive inputs and biodégradation removals. The increasing concentrations of 14CO2 in these suspensions, as determined with liquid scintillation, evidenced the strong impact of sorption to BC-rich sediments on the biodégradation rate. Using the best-fit parameter values, we integrated oxygen and sorption effects and showed that oxygen tensions far below saturation levels in water are sufficient to enable significant decreases in the steady-state concentrations of aqueous-phase pyrene. These findings may be relevant for bioaccumulation scenarios that consider the effect of sediment resuspension events on exposure to water column and sediment pore water, as well as the direct uptake of PAHs from sediments.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1128/AEM.00461-10
issn: 0099-2240
e-issn: 1098-5336
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