Implications of microbial adaptation for the assessment of environmental persistence of chemicals

Baptiste A.J. Poursat, Rob J.M. van Spanning, Pim de Voogt, John R. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Persistency of organic chemicals is a key property in their environmental risk assessment. Information on persistency is often derived from the results of biodegradability screening tests such as the ready biodegradability tests (RBTs). RBTs are, however, not designed for this purpose and suffer from several problems that lead to a high variability of the results and, hence, to difficulties in their interpretation. The origin and exposure history of the inocula used for biodegradability testing can lead to highly variable outcomes. Microbial adaptation to chemicals and its impact on biodegradation needs further investigation in order to have a better understanding of their effects on persistency assessments of chemicals. It is well described that microbial adaptation stimulates biodegradation of organic chemicals. Several mechanisms responsible for these phenomena have been described, amongst which are i) shifts in community composition or abundances, ii) mutations within populations, iii) horizontal gene transfer or iv) recombination events. These adaptation processes may well be mimicked under laboratory conditions, but the outcome remains difficult to predict as we lack a fundamental understanding of the adaptive responses. This review aims to bring together our current knowledge regarding microbial adaptation and its implication for the testing of biodegradation of chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Biodegradability
persistence
Biodegradation
Organic chemicals
biodegradation
Gene transfer
Testing
Risk assessment
gene transfer
Screening
recombination
community composition
mutation
chemical
Chemical analysis
biodegradability
history
test

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • biodegradability testing
  • biodegradation
  • microbial community
  • organic pollutants
  • persistence

Cite this

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Implications of microbial adaptation for the assessment of environmental persistence of chemicals. / Poursat, Baptiste A.J.; van Spanning, Rob J.M.; de Voogt, Pim; Parsons, John R.

In: Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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