A rapid method to screen degradation ability in chlorophenoxyalkanoic acid herbicide-degrading bacteria

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Aims:An agar medium containing a range of related chlorophenoxyalkanoic acid herbicides, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (MCPA), racemic mecoprop, (R)-mecoprop and racemic 2,4-DP (2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) propionic acid) was developed to assess the catabolic activity of a range of degradative strains.Methods and Results:The medium was previously developed containing 2,4-D as a carbon source to visualise degradation by the production of dark violet bacterial colonies. Strains isolated on mecoprop were able to degrade 2,4-D, MCPA, racemic mecoprop, (R)-mecoprop and racemic 2,4-DP, whereas the 2,4-D-enriched strains were limited to 2,4-D and MCPA as carbon sources. Sphingomonas sp. TFD44 solely degraded the dichlorinated compounds, 2,4-D, racemic 2,4-DP and 2,4-DB (2,4-dichlorophenoxybutyric acid). However, Sphingomonas sp. AW5, originally isolated on 2,4,5-T, was the only strain to degrade the phenoxybutyric compound MCPB (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxybutyric acid).Conclusions:This medium has proved to be a very effective and rapid method for screening herbicide degradation by bacterial strains.Significance and Impact of the Study:This method reduces the problem of assessing the biodegradability of this family of compounds to an achievable level.

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