Dioxins are the most toxic known environmental pollutants and are mainly formed by human activities. Due to their structural stability, dioxins persist for extended periods and can be transported over long distances from their emission sources. Thus, dioxins can be accumulated to considerable levels in both human and animal food chains. Along with sediments, soils are considered the most important reservoirs of dioxins. Soil microorganisms are therefore highly exposed to dioxins, leading to a range of biological responses that can impact the diversity, genetics and functional of such microbial communities. Dioxins are very hydrophobic with a high affinity to lipidic macromolecules in exposed organisms, including microbes. This review summarizes the genetic, molecular and biochemical impacts of dioxins on the lipid metabolism of soil microbial communities and especially examines modifications in the composition and architecture of cell membranes. This will provide a useful scientific benchmark for future attempts at soil ecological risk assessment, as well as in identifying potential dioxin-specific-responsive lipid biomarkers. Finally, potential uses of lipid-sequestering microorganisms as a part of biotechnological approaches to the bio-management of environmental contamination with dioxins are discussed.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- Lipid metabolism
- Soil microbes