Insensitive munitions (IM) are a new class of explosives that are increasingly being adopted by the military. The ability of soil microbial communities to degrade IMs is relatively unknown. In this study, microbial communities from a wide range of soils were tested in microcosms for their ability to degrade the IM, 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO). All seven soil inocula tested were able to readily reduce NTO to 3-amino-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (ATO) via 3-hydroxyamino-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (HTO), under anaerobic conditions with H2 as an electron donor. Numerous other electron donors were shown to be suitable for NTO-reducing bacteria. The addition of a small amount of yeast extract (10 mg/L) was critical to diminish lag times and increased the biotransformation rate of NTO in nearly all cases indicating yeast extract provided important nutrients for NTO-reducing bacteria. The main biotransformation product, ATO, was degradable only in aerobic conditions, as evidenced by a rise in the inorganic nitrogen species nitrite and nitrate, indicative of nitrogen-mineralization. NTO was nonbiodegradable in aerobic microcosms with all soil inocula.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry