A pilot field study was conducted to assess the impact of bioaugmentation with two plasmid pJP4-bearing microorganisms: the natural host, Ralstonia eutropha JMP134, and a laboratory-generated strain amenable to donor counterselection, Escherichia coli D11. The R. eutropha strain contained chromosomal genes necessary for mineralization of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), while the E. coli strain did not. The soil system was contaminated with 2,4-D alone or was cocontaminated with 2,4-D and Cd. Plasmid transfer to indigenous populations, plasmid persistence in soil, and degradation of 2,4-D were monitored over a 63-day period in the bioreactors. To assess the impact of contaminant reexposure, aliquots of bioreactor soil were reamended with additional 2,4-D. Both introduced donors remained culturable and transferred plasmid pJP4 to indigenous recipients, although to different extents. Isolated transconjugants were members of the Burkholderia and Ralstonia genera, suggesting multiple, if not successive, plasmid transfers. Upon a second exposure to 2,4-D, enhanced degradation was observed for all treatments, suggesting microbial adaptation to 2,4-D. Upon reexposure, degradation was most rapid for the E. coli D11-inoculated treatments. Cd did not significantly impact 2,4-D degradation or transconjugant formation. This study demonstrated that the choice of donor microorganism might be a key factor to consider for bioaugmentation efforts. In addition, the establishment of an array of stable indigenous plasmid hosts at sites with potential for reexposure or long-term contamination may be particularly useful.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology