Influence of xenobiotic contaminants on landfill soil microbial activity and diversity

M Perez-Leblic, A Turmero, M Hernandez, A Hernandez, J Pastor, Andrew Ball, Juana Rodriguez, M Arias

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Landfills are often the final recipient of a range of environmentally important contaminants such as hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In this study the influence of these contaminants on microbial activity and diversity was assessed in a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill placed in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid, Spain).Soil samples were collected from four selected areas (T2, T2B, T8 and T9) in which the amount of total hydrocarbons, PAHs and PCBs were measured. Soil biomass, substrate induced respiration (SIR) and physiological profiles of soil samples were also determined and used as indicators of total microbial activity.Highest concentration of total hydrocarbons was detected in T2 and T9 samples, with both PCBs and benzopyrene being detected in T9 sample. Results corresponding to microbial estimation (viable bacteria and fungi, and SIR) and microbiological enzyme activities showed that highest values corresponded to areas with the lowest concentration of hydrocarbons (T2B and T8). It is noticeable that in such areas was detected the lowest concentration of the pollutants PAHs and PCBs. A negative significant correlation between soil hydrocarbons concentration and SIR, total bacteria and fungi counts and most of the enzyme activities determined was established. DGGE analysis was also carried out to determine the microbial communities' structure in the soil samples, establishing different profiles of Bacteria and Archaea communities in each analysed area. Through the statistical analysis a significant negative correlation was only found for Bacteria domain when Shannon index and hydrocarbon concentration were correlated. In addition, a bacterial 16S rRNA gene based clone library was prepared from each soil. From the clones analysed in the samples, the majority corresponded to Proteobacteria, followed by Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria. It is important to remark that the most polluted sample (T9) showed the lowest microbial diversity only formed by six phyla being Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria the most representative.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S285-S290
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Issue numberSUPPL.
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • DGGE profiles
    • Landfill pollutants
    • Microbial activity
    • Phylogenetic analysis


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