, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 215–225 | Cite as

Biodegradation of DDT by stimulation of indigenous microbial populations in soil with cosubstrates

  • Irmene Ortíz
  • Antonio Velasco
  • Sylvie Le Borgne
  • Sergio Revah
Original Paper


Stimulation of native microbial populations in soil by the addition of small amounts of secondary carbon sources (cosubstrates) and its effect on the degradation and theoretical mineralization of DDT [l,l,l-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane] and its main metabolites, DDD and DDE, were evaluated. Microbial activity in soil polluted with DDT, DDE and DDD was increased by the presence of phenol, hexane and toluene as cosubstrates. The consumption of DDT was increased from 23 % in a control (without cosubstrate) to 67, 59 and 56 % in the presence of phenol, hexane and toluene, respectively. DDE was completely removed in all cases, and DDD removal was enhanced from 67 % in the control to ~86 % with all substrates tested, except for acetic acid and glucose substrates. In the latter cases, DDD removal was either inhibited or unchanged from the control. The optimal amount of added cosubstrate was observed to be between 0.64 and 2.6 mg C \( {\text{g}}^{ - 1}_{\text{dry soil}} \). The CO2 produced was higher than the theoretical amount for complete cosubstrate mineralization indicating possible mineralization of DDT and its metabolites. Bacterial communities were evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, which indicated that native soil and the untreated control presented a low bacterial diversity. The detected bacteria were related to soil microorganisms and microorganisms with known biodegradative potential. In the presence of toluene a bacterium related to Azoarcus, a genus that includes species capable of growing at the expense of aromatic compounds such as toluene and halobenzoates under denitrifying conditions, was detected.


Organochlorine pesticides DDT Biostimulation Cosubstrates Biodegradation 



The authors thank Dra. Leticia Yañez from Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí for the donation of soil samples and Dra. Maribel Hernández from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana for her suggestions to improve the manuscript. This work was financed by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Project CONACYT CB-61218) and by Secretaría de Educación Pública (Project SEP-PROMEP UAM-PTC-067).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irmene Ortíz
    • 1
  • Antonio Velasco
    • 2
  • Sylvie Le Borgne
    • 1
  • Sergio Revah
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Procesos y TecnologíaUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana-CuajimalpaMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Centro Nacional de Investigación y Capacitación AmbientalInstituto Nacional de EcologíaMexicoMexico

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