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Micropollutant biotransformation and bioaccumulation in natural stream biofilms


Desiante, Werner L; Minas, Nora S; Fenner, Kathrin (2021). Micropollutant biotransformation and bioaccumulation in natural stream biofilms. Water research, 193:116846.

Abstract

Micropollutants are ubiquitously found in natural surface waters and pose a potential risk to aquatic organisms. Stream biofilms, consisting of bacteria, algae and other microorganisms potentially contribute to bioremediating aquatic environments by biotransforming xenobiotic substances. When investigating the potential of stream biofilms to remove micropollutants from the water column, it is important to distinguish between different fate processes, such as biotransformation, passive sorption and active bioaccumulation. However, due to the complex nature of the biofilm community and its extracellular matrix, this task is often difficult. In this study, we combined biotransformation experiments involving natural stream biofilms collected up- and downstream of wastewater treatment plant outfalls with the QuEChERS extraction method to distinguish between the different fate processes. The QuEChERS extraction proved to be a suitable method for a broad range of micropollutants (> 80% of the investigated compounds). We found that 31 out of 63 compounds were biotransformed by the biofilms, with the majority being substitution-type biotransformations, and that downstream biofilms have an increased biotransformation potential towards specific wastewater-relevant micropollutants. Overall, using the experimental and analytical strategy developed, stream biofilms were demonstrated to have a broad inherent micropollutant biotransformation potential, and to thus contribute to bioremediation and improving ecosystem health.

Keywords: Biofilm extraction; Bioremediation; Microbial ecotoxicology; Organic contaminants; Periphyton; Sorption

Abstract

Micropollutants are ubiquitously found in natural surface waters and pose a potential risk to aquatic organisms. Stream biofilms, consisting of bacteria, algae and other microorganisms potentially contribute to bioremediating aquatic environments by biotransforming xenobiotic substances. When investigating the potential of stream biofilms to remove micropollutants from the water column, it is important to distinguish between different fate processes, such as biotransformation, passive sorption and active bioaccumulation. However, due to the complex nature of the biofilm community and its extracellular matrix, this task is often difficult. In this study, we combined biotransformation experiments involving natural stream biofilms collected up- and downstream of wastewater treatment plant outfalls with the QuEChERS extraction method to distinguish between the different fate processes. The QuEChERS extraction proved to be a suitable method for a broad range of micropollutants (> 80% of the investigated compounds). We found that 31 out of 63 compounds were biotransformed by the biofilms, with the majority being substitution-type biotransformations, and that downstream biofilms have an increased biotransformation potential towards specific wastewater-relevant micropollutants. Overall, using the experimental and analytical strategy developed, stream biofilms were demonstrated to have a broad inherent micropollutant biotransformation potential, and to thus contribute to bioremediation and improving ecosystem health.

Keywords: Biofilm extraction; Bioremediation; Microbial ecotoxicology; Organic contaminants; Periphyton; Sorption

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Civil and Structural Engineering
Physical Sciences > Ecological Modeling
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Pollution
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Water Science and Technology, Ecological Modeling, Environmental Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 April 2021
Deposited On:06 Jan 2023 15:39
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0043-1354
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2021.116846
PubMed ID:33540344
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID228473
  • : Project TitleStarting Grants – Monitoring European Research Council’s Implementation of Excellence
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID614768
  • : Project TitlePredicting environment-specific biotransformation of chemical contaminants
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)