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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988 Jan;54(1):212-7.

Influence of inorganic and organic nutrients on aerobic biodegradation and on the adaptation response of subsurface microbial communities.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400.


The influence of inorganic and organic amendments on the mineralization of ethylene dibromide, p-nitrophenol, phenol, and toluene was examined in subsurface soil samples from a pristine aquifer near Lula, Okla. The responses indicate that the metabolic abilities and nutrient requirements of groundwater microorganisms vary substantially within an aquifer. In some samples, additions of inorganic nutrients resulted in a more rapid adaptation to the test substrate and a higher rate of metabolism, indicating that metabolism may have been limited by these nutrients. In other samples from the same aquifer layer, inorganic amendments had little or no influence on mineralization. In general, the addition of multiple inorganic nutrients resulted in a greater enhancement of degradation than did the addition of single substances. Additions of alternate carbon sources, such as glucose or amino acids, inhibited the mineralization of the xenobiotic substrates. This inhibition appears to be the result of the preferential utilization of the more easily degradable carbon amendments.

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