Characterization of Arthrobacter nicotinovorans HIM, an atrazine-degrading bacterium, from agricultural soil New Zealand


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Arthrobacter nicotinovorans HIM was isolated directly from an agricultural sandy dune soil 6 months after a single application of atrazine. It grew in minimal medium with atrazine as sole nitrogen source but was unable to mineralize 14C-ring-labelled atrazine. Atrazine was degraded to cyanuric acid. In addition to atrazine the bacterium degraded simazine, terbuthylazine, propazine, cyanazine and prometryn but was unable to grow on terbumeton. When added to soil, A. nicotinovorans HIM did enhance mineralization of 14C-ring-labelled atrazine and simazine, in combination with naturally occurring cyanuric acid degrading microbes resident in the soil. Using PCR, the atrazine-degradation genes atzABC were identified in A. nicotinovorans HIM. Cloning of the atzABC genes revealed significant homology (>99%) with the atrazine degradation genes of Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP. The atrazine degradation genes were held on a 96 kbp plasmid.