The application of the fungicide thiabendazole (TBZ) in fruit packaging plants (FPP) results in the production of effluents which are often disposed in adjacent field sites. These require remediation to prevent further environmental dispersal of TBZ. We assessed the bioaugmentation potential of a newly isolated TBZ-degrading bacterial consortium in a naturally contaminated soil (NCS) exhibiting a natural gradient of TBZ levels (12000, 400, 250 and 12 mg kg−1). The effect of aging on bioaugmentation efficacy was comparatively tested in a soil with similar physicochemical properties and soil microbiota, which was artificially, contaminated with the same TBZ levels (ACS). The impact of bioaugmentation and TBZ on the bacterial diversity in the NCS was explored via amplicon sequencing. Bioaugmentation effectively removed TBZ from both soils at levels up to 400 mg kg−1 but failed at the highest contamination level (12000 mg kg−1). Dissipation of TBZ in bioaugmented samples showed a concentration-dependent pattern, while aging of TBZ had a slight effect on bioaugmentation efficiency. Bioaugmentation had no impact on the soil bacterial diversity, in contrast to TBZ contamination. Soils from the hotspots of TBZ contamination (12000 mg kg−1) showed a drastically lower α-diversity driven by the dominance of β- and γ-proteobacteria at the expense of all other bacterial phyla, especially Actinobacteria. Overall, bioaugmentation with specialized microbial inocula could be an effective solution for the recovery of disposal sites contaminated with persistent chemicals like TBZ.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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