Microbial Transformation of A Sulfonamide Antibiotic Under Various Background Nutrient Conditions

Rachel E. Levine, Yuping Zhang, Yifei Leng, Daniel D. Snow, David Cassada, Lisa M. Durso, Xu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain microbes can biotransform antibiotics. Little is known about these microbes or the biotransformation processes. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of background nutrient conditions on a sulfonamide degrading culture and on its biotransformation of sulfadiazine (SDZ) with respect to transformation kinetics and transformation products. The mixed culture capable of degrading SDZ consisted primarily of three genera, Brevibacterium, Castellaniella and Leucobacter. The maximum biotransformation rate was 4.55 mg L−1 d−1 in the absence of background nutrients. Among the three background nutrient conditions tested, diluted R2A medium lead to the highest maximum SDZ biotransformation rates, followed by humic acid and glucose. 2-aminopyrimidine was the major SDZ biotransformation product under the background nutrient conditions tested, while another previously reported biotransformation product, sulfanilic acid, was further degraded by the mixed culture. The findings from this study can help improve our estimation of the fate of antibiotics in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Antibiotic
  • Background nutrients
  • Biotransformation products
  • Microbial biotransformation
  • Microbial composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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