Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) pollution is accompanied by other co-contaminants, such as perchlorate and chlorates, which can retard biodegradation. The effects of perchlorate and chlorate on aerobic RDX degradation remain unclear. We hypothesized that they have a negative or no impact on aerobic RDX-degrading bacteria. We used three aerobic RDX-degrading strains—Rhodococcus strains YH1 and T7 and Gordonia YY1—to examine this hypothesis. The strains were exposed to perchlorate, chlorate, and nitrate as single components or in a mixture. Their growth, degradation activity, and gene expression were monitored. Strain-specific responses to the co-contaminants were observed: enhanced growth of strain YH1 and inhibition of strain T7. Vmax and Km of cytochrome P450 (XplA) in the presence of the co-contaminants were not significantly different from the control, suggesting no direct influence on cytochrome P450. Surprisingly, xplA expression increased fourfold in cultures pre-grown on RDX and, after washing, transferred to a medium containing only perchlorate. This culture did not grow, but xplA was translated and active, albeit at lower levels than in the control. We explained this observation as being due to nitrogen limitation in the culture and not due to perchlorate induction. Our results suggest that the aerobic strain YH1 is effective for aerobic remediation of RDX in groundwater.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)