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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Feb;57(2):412-8.

Effects of 2,4-dichlorophenol, a metabolite of a genetically engineered bacterium, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate on some microorganism-mediated ecological processes in soil.

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  • 1Environmental Research Laboratory, 200 SW 35th Street, and NSI Technology Services Corp., Environmental Sciences, Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, Oregon 97333; Department of Biology, New York University, New York, New York 10003 ; and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.


A genetically engineered microorganism, Pseudomonas putida PPO301(pRO103), and the plasmidless parent strain, PPO301, were added at approximately 10 CFU/g of soil amended with 500 ppm of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate (2,4-D) (500 mug/g). The degradation of 2,4-D and the accumulation of a single metabolite, identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometry as 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), occurred only in soil inoculated with PPO301(pRO103), wherein 2,4-DCP accumulated to >70 ppm for 5 weeks and the concentration of 2,4-D was reduced to <100 ppm. Coincident with the accumulation of 2,4-DCP was a >400-fold decline in the numbers of fungal propagules and a marked reduction in the rate of CO(2) evolution, whereas 2,4-D did not depress either fungal propagules or respiration of the soil microbiota. 2,4-DCP did not appear to depress the numbers of total heterotrophic, sporeforming, or chitin-utilizing bacteria. In vitro and in situ assays conducted with 2,4-DCP and fungal isolates from the soil demonstrated that 2,4-DCP was toxic to fungal propagules at concentrations below those detected in the soil.

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