Cometabolic biotransformation and microbial-mediated abiotic transformation of sulfonamides by three ammonia oxidizers

Li Jun Zhou, Ping Han, Yaochun Yu, Baozhan Wang, Yujie Men, Michael Wagner, Qinglong L. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The abilities of three phylogenetically distant ammonia oxidizers, Nitrososphaera gargensis, an ammonia-oxidizing archaeon (AOA); Nitrosomomas nitrosa Nm90, an ammonia-oxidizing bacterium (AOB); and Nitrospira inopinata, the only complete ammonia oxidizer (comammox)available as a pure culture, to biotransform seven sulfonamides (SAs)were investigated. The removals and protein-normalized biotransformation rate constants indicated that the AOA strain N. gargensis exhibited the highest SA biotransformation rates, followed by N. inopinata and N. nitrosa Nm90. The transformation products (TPs)of sulfadiazine (SDZ), sulfamethazine (SMZ)and sulfamethoxazole (SMX)and the biotransformation mechanisms were evaluated. Based on the analysis of the TP formulas and approximate structures, it was found that during biotransformation, i)the AOA strain carried out SA deamination, hydroxylation, and nitration; ii)the AOB strain mainly performed SA deamination; and iii)the comammox isolate participated only in deamination reactions. It is proposed that deamination was catalyzed by deaminases while hydroxylation and nitration were mediated by nonspecific activities of the ammonia monooxygenase (AMO). Additionally, it was demonstrated that among the three ammonia oxidizers, only AOB contributed to the formation of pterin-SA conjugates. The biotransformation of SDZ, SMZ and SMX occurred only when ammonia oxidation was active, suggesting a cometabolic transformation mechanism. Interestingly, SAs could also be transformed by hydroxylamine, an intermediate of ammonia oxidation, suggesting that in addition to enzymatic conversions, a microbially induced abiotic mechanism contributes to SA transformation during ammonia oxidation. Overall, using experiments with pure cultures, this study provides important insights into the roles played by ammonia oxidizers in SA biotransformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-453
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Volume159
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Keywords

  • Abiotic transformation
  • Ammonia oxidizers
  • Biotransformation
  • Cometabolism
  • Sulfonamides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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