International journal of phytoremediation

Differences in the biotransformation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) between wild and axenically grown isolates of Myriophyllum aquaticum.

PMID 16924960


The aim of this study was to demonstrate the potential for aquatic plants and their associated microbes to bioremediate wetland sites contaminated with 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). The transformation of TNT was studied using both wild and axenically grown isolates of Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot feather). Differences in TNT transformation rates and nitroaromatic metabolites were observed between different plants. The wild isolates, containing a consortium of associated microorganisms, transformed TNT into 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene (2-A-DNT) and 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene (4-A-DNT) via 2- and 4-hydroxylamino-dinitrotoluene, which were detected as intermediates. The wild M. aquaticum also converted the metabolites, 2-A-DNT and 4-A-DNT, into low levels of 2,4-diaminotoluene (2,4-DAT). The axenically grown plants, containing no cultureable microorganisms, also transformed TNT into 2-A-DNT and 4-A-DNT, but at a much lower rate than that observed for the wild isolates. Unlike the wild plants, axenically grown M. aquaticum could not transform either 2-A-DNT or 4-A-DNT into 2,4-DAT over the incubation period. The differences in the performance between these plants could indicate that plant-associated microorganisms assisted in the overall transformation of TNT. For each plant, unidentifiable metabolites were observed and the soluble monoamino-derivatives present in the wild and axenic medium accounted for 14 and 7% of the initial TNT concentration, respectively. Thus, the majority of nitroaromatic derivatives remained associated with the plant tissues. Furthermore, only 7 and 3% of the initial TNT concentration were extracted as monoamino-derivatives from the tissues of the wild and axenically grown plants, respectively.