Response of a marine sediment microbial community exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid

M. E. Hogan, B. B. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Acclimation of a marine sediment microbial community to the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was examined by comparing its ability to metabolize 2,4-D before and after exposure to the herbicide. The experimental treatments (control: 2-week exposure, seawater only; test: 2-week exposure, seawater plus 100 ppm 2,4-D) took place under simulated in situ conditions, in an incubation chamber, which maintained the physical and chemical gradient structure of the sediment community. The surface of the sediment was exposed to recirculating seawater on a tidal cycle. 2,4-D (100 ppm) was added to the seawater so that its availability to the sediment microbes mimicked the natural situation. Before and after treatment, bacterial abundance, productivity, and transformation of 2,4-D were determined. After 2 weeks, bacterial populations were similar in the 2,4-D treatment and the initial sediment sample, but higher in the seawater-only treatment. Bacterial productivity was higher in both 2-week treatments, compared to productivity measured before treatment, but rates were the same in 2,4-D and seawater treatments. In contrast, 2,4-D transformation rates increased 28% in the 2-week 100-ppm 2,4-D treatment, compared to the average of the seawater control and the initial sample. This increased transformation rate indicates that the sediment community acclimated to the selective pressure of 2,4-D treatment by increasing its ability to utilize this compound as a substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science
  • Ecology


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