The Role of the Bacterial Community of an Agroecosystem in Simazine Degradation

  • Anna Barra Caracciolo |
  • Paola Grenni
  • Maria Ludovica Saccà
  • Francesca Falconi
  • Giuseppe Di Landa
  • Roberto Ciccoli


The use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural practice is the main source of soil and groundwater contamination. S-Triazines are among the most used herbicides in the world for selective weed control in several types of crops. The homeostatic capability of an agroecosystem to remove a triazinic herbicide, simazine, was assessed in microcosms treated with the herbicide in presence/absence of urea fertilizer. The latter, as well as a fertilizer, is also one of the last by-products before simazine mineralization. The biodegradation, in terms of disappearance of 50% of the initial concentration (DT50), was compared to the degradation and metabolite formation occurring in sterilized soil. Moreover, the bacterial community response was assessed in terms of abundance and community structure by the epifluorescence direct count method and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The results show that the microbial community has a primary role in simazine degradation and that this process is due to the presence of a microbial pool working in succession and of which the metabolism may be modulated by exogenous sources of nitrogen, like urea. The latter influences the degradative pathway with a greater formation and accumulation of the desethyl-simazine metabolite, which is a hazardous contaminant of soil and groundwater ecosystems, as well as its parent compound.



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How to Cite
Caracciolo, A. B., Grenni, P., Saccà, M. L., Falconi, F., Di Landa, G., & Ciccoli, R. (2007). The Role of the Bacterial Community of an Agroecosystem in Simazine Degradation. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 2(2), 163-170.