Stimulation of earthworms (Eisenia fetida) on soil microbial communities to promote metolachlor degradation.


College of Resources and Environment, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Degradation of metolachlor in surface soil is extremely important to its potential mobility and overall persistence. In this study, the effects of earthworms (Eisenia fetida) on the degradation of metolachlor at two concentration levels (5 and 20 mg kg-1) in soil were investigated via the column experiment. The degradation kinetics of metolachlor indicate that addition of earthworms enhances metolachlor degradation significantly (P < 0.05), with the enhanced degradation rate of 30% and 63% in the low and high concentration treatments at the 15th day, respectively. Fungi rather than bacteria are primarily responsible for metolachlor degradation in soil, and earthworms stimulate metolachlor degradation mainly by stimulating the metolachlor-degrading functional microorganisms and improving fungal community structure. Earthworms prefer to promote the possible fungal degraders like order Sordariales, Microascales, Hypocreales and Mortierellales and the possible bacteria genus Rubritalea and strengthen the relationships between these primary fungi. Two metabolites metolachlor oxanilic (MOXA) and moetolachlor ethanesulfonic acid (MESA) are detected in soil and earthworms in the high concentration treatments. Earthworms stimulate the formation of MOXA and yet inhibit the formation of MESA in soil. Another metabolite metolachlor-2-hydroxy (M2H) is also detected in earthworms, which is reported firstly. The study provides an important information for the remediation of metolachlor-polluted soil.


Degradation,Earthworms,High-throughout sequencing,Metolachlor,Soil microorganisms,