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Journal of hazardous materials

ETBE (ethyl tert butyl ether) and TAME (tert amyl methyl ether) affect microbial community structure and function in soils.


PMID 21288640

Abstract

Ethyl tert butyl ether (ETBE) and tert amyl methyl ether (TAME) are oxygenates used in gasoline in order to reduce emissions from vehicles. The present study investigated their impact on a soil microflora that never was exposed to any contamination before. Therefore, soil was artificially contaminated and incubated over 6 weeks. Substrate induced respiration (SIR) measurements and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis indicated shifts in both, microbial function and structure during incubation. The results showed an activation of microbial respiration in the presence of ETBE and TAME, suggesting biodegradation by the microflora. Furthermore, PLFA concentrations decreased in the presence of ETBE and TAME and Gram-positive bacteria became more dominant in the microbial community.