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Gewählte Publikation:

Herzyk, A; Fillinger, L; Larentis, M; Qiu, SR; Maloszewski, P; Hunniger, M; Schmidt, SI; Stumpp, C; Marozava, S; Knappett, PSK; Elsner, M; Meckenstock, R; Lueders, T; Griebler, C.
(2017): Response and recovery of a pristine groundwater ecosystem impacted by toluene contamination A meso-scale indoor aquifer experiment
J CONTAM HYDROL. 2017; 207: 17-30. FullText FullText_BOKU

Microbial communities are the driving force behind the degradation of contaminants like aromatic hydrocarbons in groundwater ecosystems. However, little is known about the response of native microbial communities to contamination in pristine environments as well as their potential to recover from a contamination event. Here, we used an indoor aquifer mesocosm filled with sandy quaternary calciferous sediment that was continuously fed with pristine groundwater to study the response, resistance and resilience of microbial communities to toluene contamination over a period of almost two years, comprising 132 days of toluene exposure followed by nearly 600 days of recovery. We observed an unexpectedly high intrinsic potential for toluene degradation, starting within the first two weeks after the first exposure. The contamination led to a shift from oxic to anoxic, primarily nitrate-reducing conditions as well as marked cell growth inside the contaminant plume. Depth-resolved community fingerprinting revealed a low resistance of the native microbial community to the perturbation induced by the exposure to toluene. Distinct populations that were dominated by a small number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) rapidly emerged inside the plume and at the plume fringes, partially replacing the original community. During the recovery period physico-chemical conditions were restored to the pristine state within about 35 days, whereas the recovery of the biological parameters was much slower and the community composition inside the former plume area had not recovered to the original state by the end of the experiment. These results demonstrate the low resilience of sediment-associated groundwater microbial communities to organic pollution and underline that recovery of groundwater ecosystems cannot be assessed solely by physico-chemical parameters.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Stumpp Christine

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Groundwater ecosystem
Microbial communities
Aromatic hydrocarbons
Contaminant plumes

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