Enhanced microbial activity and xenobiotic transformations take place in the rhizosphere. Degradation and binding of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) were determined in two rhizosphere soils (RS) and compared to respective unplanted control soils (CS). The rhizosphere soils were obtained after growing com for 70 d in soils containing 2.8% (Soil A) or 5.9% (Soil B) organic matter. Aerobically agitated soil slurries (3:1, solution/soil) were prepared from RS and CS and amended with 75 mg TNT L-1 (14C-labeled). TNT degraded more rapidly and formed more unextractable bound residue in RS than in CS. In Soil A, total extractable TNT decreased from 225 to 1.0 mg kg-1 in RS, whereas 11 mg kg-1 remained in CS after 15 d. Unextractable bound 14C residues accounted for 40% of the added 14C-TNT in RS and 28% in CS. The smaller differences in Soil B were attributed partially to the higher organic matter content. The predominant TNT degradation products were monoaminodinitrotoluenes (ADNT), which accumulated and disappeared more rapidly in RS than in CS, and hydroxylaminodinitrotoluenes (HADNT). When sterilized by γ-irradiation, no significant differences between RS and CS were observed in TNT loss or bound residue formation. More rapid TNT degradation and enhanced bound residue formation in the unsterilized RS was attributed to microbial-facilitated production and transformation of HADNT and ADNT, which are potential precursors to bound residue formation. If plants can be established on TNT-contaminated soil, these results indicate that the rhizosphere can accelerate reductive transformation of TNT and promote bound residue formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science