College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, PR China; Key Laboratory of Environmental Biology and Pollution Control (Hunan University), Ministry of Education, Changsha 410082, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
The rise in manufacture and use of carbon nanotubes has aroused the concern about their potential risks associated with coexisting pollutants in the aquatic environment. 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), with a high toxicity to many aquatic organisms, is a widespread pollutant resulting from the extensive use of pesticides and preservatives. In this article, the adsorption of 2,4-DCP by riverine sediment and the responses of sediment microbial community to 2,4-DCP were studied in the presence of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Adding MWCNTs significantly increased the adsorption amount of sediment for 2,4-DCP from 0.541 to 1.44 mg/g as the MWCNT concentration increased from 0 to 15 mg/g. The responses of sediment microbial community were determined after one-month exposure to MWCNTs at different concentrations (0.05, 0.5, 5, and 50 mg/g). The microbial biomass carbon in the sediment contaminated with 2,4-DCP increased in the presence of 5 mg/g of MWCNTs (from 0.06 to 0.11 mg/g), but not significantly changed at other MWCNT concentrations. For the sediments contaminated with 2,4-DCP, the presence of MWCNTs made no difference to urease activity, while the dehydrogenase activity slightly increased with the addition of 5 mg/g of MWCNTs and decreased in the presence of 50 mg/g of MWCNTs. The changes of sediment bacterial communities were further determined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Based on the weighted UniFrac distance between communities, the clustering analysis suggested that the contamination of 2,4-DCP affected the bacterial community structure in a greater degree than that caused by MWCNTs at relatively low concentrations (≤5 mg/g). Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, and Nitrospirae were feature bacterial phyla to reflect the effects of MWCNTs and 2,4-DCP on sediment bacterial community. These results may contribute to the understanding of microbial community response to co-exposure of MWCNTs and 2,4-DCP and the assessment of associated ecological risks.