Concentration effects of 1,2-dichlorobenzene on soil microbiology

Ian P. Thompson*, Mark J. Bailey, Elaine M. Boyd, Nicola Maguire, Andrew A. Meharg, Richard J. Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of increasing concentrations (65, 130, 325, 1,300, and 3,250 μg/g soil dry weight) of 1,2-dichlorobenzene (1,2-DCB) on the microbial biomass, metabolic potential, and diversity of culturable bacteria was investigated using soil microcosms. All doses caused a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in viable hyphal fungal length. Bacteria were more tolerant, only direct total counts in soils exposed to 3,250 μg/g were significantly (p < 0.05) lower than untreated controls, and estimates of culturable bacteria showed no response. Pseudomonads counts were stimulated by 1,2-DCB concentrations of up to 325 μg/g; above this level counts were similar to controls. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis of taxonomic bacterial composition reflected the differential response of specific genera to increasing 1,2-DCB concentrations, especially the tolerance of Bacillus to the highest concentrations. The shifts in community composition were reflected in estimates of metabolic potential assessed by carbon assimilation (Biolog) ability. Significantly fewer (p < 0.05) carbon sources were utilized by communities exposed to 1,2-DCB concentrations greater than 130 μg/g (<64 carbon sources utilized) than control soils (83); the ability to assimilate individual carbohydrates sources was especially compromised. The results of this study demonstrate that community diversity and metabolic potential can be used as effective bioindicators of pollution stress and concentration effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1891-1898
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental toxicology and chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Concentration effects
  • Dichlorobenzene
  • Microbial diversity
  • Soil microbial biomass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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