The influence of selected environmental factors on microbial TNT mineralization in soils collected from a TNT-contaminated site at Weldon Spring, MO, was examined using uniformly ring-labeled [14C]TNT. Microbial TNT mineralization was significantly inhibited by the addition of cellobiose and syringate. This response suggests that the indigenous microorganisms are capable of metabolizing TNT but preferentially utilize less recalcitrant substrates when available. The observed inhibition of TNT mineralization by TNT concentrations higher than 100 ??mol/kg of soil and by dry soil conditions suggests that toxic inhibition of microbial activity at high TNT concentrations and the periodic drying of these soils have contributed to the long-term persistence of TNT at Weldon Spring. In comparison to aerobic microcosms, mineralization was inhibited in anaerobic microcosms and in microcosms with a headspace of air amended with oxygen, suggesting that a mosaic of aerobic and anaerobic conditions may optimize TNT degradation at this site.
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Factors affecting microbial 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene mineralization in contaminated soil