Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract Soil retrieval, processing and storage procedures can have a profound effect on soil microorganisms. In particular, changes in soil microbial populations may adversely affect the biological activity of a soil and drastically alter the soil's potential to mineralize added substrates. The effects of cold storage on the biodegradation of a series of test polymers was investigated using two soils—a synthetic soil mix (SM-L8) and a field soil (Bridgehampton silt loam) from Rhode Island (RI-1). Biodegradation tests were conducted using freshly prepared/collected soil and again following storage at 4°C for 3 to 8 months. Prior to each biodegradation test, the soils were incubated at 60% water-holding capacity (WHC) and 25°C to rejuvenate the microbial populations; the soils were incubated for periods of 48 h (freshly collected soil) or 25 days (soils stored at 4°C). Soil microbial populations were assessed by enumerating different segments of the population on agar plates containing different selective media. Mineralization of the test polymers (cellulose, poly-3-hydroxybutyrate, and starch acetate, d.s. 1.5) was monitored using standard respirometric techniques. Our results demonstrated that cold storage had a generally negative effect on the soil microbial populations themselves but that its effect on the capacity of the soil microorganisms to degrade the test polymers varied between soils and polymer type. Whereas cold storage resulted in dramatic shifts in the community structure of the soil microbial populations, substantial restoration of these populations was possible by first conditioning the soils at 60% WHC and ambient temperatures for 25 days. Likewise, although the effects of cold storage on polymer mineralization varied with the test polymer and soil, these effects could be largely offset by including an initial 25-day stabilization period in the test.
Type of Medium: