Applied microbiology and biotechnology

Degradation of ¹³C-labeled pyrene in soil-compost mixtures and fertilized soil.

PMID 26216241


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are toxic pollutants widely distributed in the environment due to natural and anthropogenic processes. In order to mitigate tar oil contaminations with PAH, research on improving bioremediation approaches, which are sometimes inefficient, is needed. However, the knowledge on the fate of PAH-derived carbon and the microbial degraders in particular in compost-supplemented soils is still limited. Here we show the PAH carbon turnover mass balance in microcosms with soil-compost mixtures or in farmyard fertilized soil using [(13)C6]-pyrene as a model PAH. Complete pyrene degradation of 100 mg/kg of soil was observed in all supplemented microcosms within 3 to 5 months, and the residual (13)C was mainly found as carbon converted to microbial biomass. Long-term fertilization of soil with farmyard manure resulted in pyrene removal efficiency similar to compost addition, although with a much longer lag phase, higher mineralization, and lower carbon incorporation into the biomass. Organic amendments either as long-term manure fertilization or as compost amendment thus play a key role in increasing the PAH-degrading potential of the soil microbial community. Phospholipid fatty acid stable isotope probing (PLFA-SIP) was used to trace the carbon within the microbial population and the amount of biomass formed from pyrene degradation. The results demonstrate that complex microbial degrader consortia rather than the expected single key players are responsible for PAH degradation in organic-amended soil.