AME 50:91-102 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/ame01133

Lotic biofilm community structure and pesticide tolerance along a contamination gradient in a vineyard area

Ursula Dorigo1, Christophe Leboulanger2,3, Annette Bérard1, Agnès Bouchez2, Jean-François Humbert2,4, Bernard Montuelle1,*

1CEMAGREF, UR Qualité des Eaux, 3 Quai Chauveau CP, 69336 Lyon Cedex 09, France
2INRA UMR CARRTEL, Laboratoire de Microbiologie Aquatique, BP 511, 74203 Thonon Cedex, France
3IRD UR 167 Cyroco, UMR 5119, CNRS-Université Montpellier II, cc 093, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
4Institut Pasteur - CNRS URA 2172, Unité des Cyanobactéries, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We investigated the environmental impact of diffuse pesticide pollution on natural river biofilms in the River Morcille, France, during 2 seasons in pristine and contaminated stations. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic community compositions were assessed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, while microalgal community composition was determined by high pressure liquid chromatography pigment analysis. The sensitivity of microphytobenthos to the herbicide Diuron was investigated in the laboratory by short-term photosynthesis inhibition assays. Spatial changes in prokaryotic and eukaryotic species compositions were found in spring and in winter. Community structures were significantly different between contaminated areas and those that were uncontaminated or less contaminated. Associated changes in biodiversity were not found. Community tolerance towards Diuron (based on EC50 values for photosynthesis) was significantly lower in upstream than in downstream photoautotrophic organisms. Pesticide concentration increased along the downstream gradient. These results strongly suggest contamination-driven changes in biofilm community structure and in the tolerance of the photoautotrophic community, confirming the Pollution-Induced Community Tolerance (PICT) hypothesis.

KEY WORDS: Biofilms · Community structure · Community tolerance · Pesticides · Vineyard area

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Cite this article as: Dorigo U, Leboulanger C, Bérard A, Bouchez A, Humbert JF, Montuelle B (2007) Lotic biofilm community structure and pesticide tolerance along a contamination gradient in a vineyard area. Aquat Microb Ecol 50:91-102

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