Microbial Transformation of A Sulfonamide Antibiotic Under Various Background Nutrient Conditions

  • Rachel E. Levine
  • Yuping Zhang
  • Yifei Leng
  • Daniel D. Snow
  • David Cassada
  • Lisa M. Durso
  • Xu LiEmail author


Certain microbes can biotransform antibiotics. Little is known about these microbes or the biotransformation processes. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of background nutrient conditions on a sulfonamide degrading culture and on its biotransformation of sulfadiazine (SDZ) with respect to transformation kinetics and transformation products. The mixed culture capable of degrading SDZ consisted primarily of three genera, Brevibacterium, Castellaniella and Leucobacter. The maximum biotransformation rate was 4.55 mg L−1 d−1 in the absence of background nutrients. Among the three background nutrient conditions tested, diluted R2A medium lead to the highest maximum SDZ biotransformation rates, followed by humic acid and glucose. 2-aminopyrimidine was the major SDZ biotransformation product under the background nutrient conditions tested, while another previously reported biotransformation product, sulfanilic acid, was further degraded by the mixed culture. The findings from this study can help improve our estimation of the fate of antibiotics in the environment.


Antibiotic Microbial biotransformation Background nutrients Microbial composition Biotransformation products 



The works was supported by the National Science Foundation [Grant No. CBET-1351676]. The funding source was not involved in the design and execution of the study. E-supplementary data of this work can be found in online version of the paper

Supplementary material

128_2019_2727_MOESM1_ESM.docx (667 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 667 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Water Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of AgricultureWashington, D.C.USA

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