Microbial utilization of heterocyclic nitrogen from atrazine

F. Bichat, G. K. Sims, R. L. Mulvaney

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Radiotracer studies have provided indirect evidence that heterocyclic N in atrazine [2-chloro-4(ethylamino)-6-(isopropylamino)-1,3,5-triazine] may be utilized by microorganisms as a source of N; however, no data are available from investigations using 15N as a tracer. Studies were conducted to examine microbial utilization of atrazine ring-15N in soil and pure cultures of Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP, Agrobacterium radiobacter J14a, or bacterium M91-3. Atrazine [U-15N-ring] was synthesized from labeled urea. To investigate the effect of exogenous N on atrazine degradation, pure cultures were supplemented with unlabeled atrazine and labeled N as (NH4)2SO4, KNO3, urea, or glycine. Under C-limiting conditions, cells of Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP incorporated side chain-N into biomass and liberated ring-N as NH4. When N was limiting, ring-N was also recovered in biomass. Degradation of atrazine by Pseudomonas strain sp. ADP and A. radiobacter was unaffected by the presence of exogenous N, whereas no degradation occurred with bacterium M91-3 in media containing urea or NH4-N. The fate of double-labeled [U-14C, U-15N-ring]-atrazine (15 mg kg-1) was examined after incubation of a Bloomfield soil (sandy, mixed, mesic Psammentic Hapludalf) amended with NH4- or NO3-N (75 mg kg-1), with or without an inoculum of Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP (1.06 × 1013 cells kg-1). In uninoculated soil, mineralization of atrazine-14C was inhibited by inorganic N, whereas in the inoculated soil, 87% of the atrazine was mineralized, regardless of the N treatment. The C/N ratio was much lower for amino acids isolated from soil than for the atrazine ring, suggesting preferential assimilation of N over C by microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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