Biodegradation of metoprolol in oxic and anoxic hyporheic zone sediments: unexpected effects on microbial communities

authored by
Cyrus Rutere, Malte Posselt, Adrian Ho, Marcus A. Horn

Metoprolol is widely used as a beta-blocker and considered an emerging contaminant of environmental concern due to pseudo persistence in wastewater effluents that poses a potential ecotoxicological threat to aquatic ecosystems. Microbial removal of metoprolol in the redox-delineated hyporheic zone (HZ) was investigated using streambed sediments supplemented with 15 or 150 μM metoprolol in a laboratory microcosm incubation under oxic and anoxic conditions. Metoprolol disappeared from the aqueous phase under oxic and anoxic conditions within 65 and 72 days, respectively. Metoprolol was refed twice after initial depletion resulting in accelerated disappearance under both conditions. Metoprolol disappearance was marginal in sterile control microcosms with autoclaved sediment. Metoprolol was transformed mainly to metoprolol acid in oxic microcosms, while metoprolol acid and α-hydroxymetoprolol were formed in anoxic microcosms. Transformation products were transient and disappeared within 30 days under both conditions. Effects of metoprolol on the HZ bacterial community were evaluated using DNA- and RNA-based time-resolved amplicon Illumina MiSeq sequencing targeting the 16S rRNA gene and 16S rRNA, respectively, and were prominent on 16S rRNA rather than 16S rRNA gene level suggesting moderate metoprolol-induced activity-level changes. A positive impact of metoprolol on Sphingomonadaceae and Enterobacteriaceae under oxic and anoxic conditions, respectively, was observed. Nitrifiers were impaired by metoprolol under oxic and anoxic conditions. Collectively, our findings revealed high metoprolol biodegradation potentials in the hyporheic zone under contrasting redox conditions associated with changes in the active microbial communities, thus contributing to the attenuation of micropollutants.

Institute of Microbiology
External Organisation(s)
Stockholm University
University of Bayreuth
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Biotechnology, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open) (Access: Open)