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Enhancement effect of earthworm (Eisenia fetida) on acetochlor biodegradation in soil and possible mechanisms

Hao, Yueqi, Zhao, Lixia, Sun, Yang, Li, Xiaojing, Weng, Liping, Xu, Huijuan, Li, Yongtao
Environmental pollution 2018 v.242 pp. 728-737
Eisenia fetida, Methylobacillus, Microascales, Mortierella, Sphingomonas, acetochlor, biodegradation, earthworms, enzyme activity, fungal communities, fungi, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, leaching, neutralization, nutrition, pH, pollutants, risk, soil, soil microorganisms, toxicity
Acetochlor is a widely used chloroacetanilide herbicide and has posed environmental risks in soil and water due to its toxicity and high leaching capacity. Earthworm represents the dominant invertebrate in soil and can promote the decomposition of organic pollutants. The effect of earthworm on acetochlor degradation in soil was studied by soil column experiment with or without acetochlor and earthworm in sterile and natural soils. The degradation capacities of drilosphere components to acetochlor were investigated by microcosm experiments. Bacterial and fungal acetochlor degraders stimulated by earthworm were identified by high-throughput sequencing. The degradation kinetics of acetochlor suggested that both indigenous microorganisms and earthworm played important roles in acetochlor degradation. Acetochlor degradation was quicker in soil with earthworms than without earthworms, with the degradation rates increased by 62.3 ± 15.2% and 9.7 ± 1.7% in sterile and natural treatments respectively. The result was related to the neutralized pH, higher enzyme activities and enhanced soil microbial community diversity and richness in the presence of earthworms. Earthworm cast was the degradation hotpot in drilosphere and exhibited better anaerobic degradation capacity in microcosm experiments. The acetochlor degradation rate of cast in anaerobic environment was 12.0 ± 0.1% quicker than that in aerobic environment. Residual acetochlor in soil conferred a long-term impairment on fungal community, and this inhibition could be repaired by earthworm. Earthworm stimulated indigenous degraders like Sphingomonas and Microascales and carried suspected intestinal degraders like Mortierella and Escherichia_coli to degradation process. Cometabolism between nutrition cycle species and degraders in casts also contributed to its faster degradation rates. The study also presented some possible anaerobic degradation species like Rhodococcus, Pseudomonas_fulva and Methylobacillus.