alexa Mercury and other heavy metals influence bacterial community structure in contaminated Tennessee streams.


Applied Microbiology: Open Access

Author(s): Vishnivetskaya TA, Mosher JJ, Palumbo AV, Yang ZK, Podar M,

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Abstract High concentrations of uranium, inorganic mercury [Hg(II)], and methylmercury (MeHg) have been detected in streams located in the Department of Energy reservation in Oak Ridge, TN. To determine the potential effects of the surface water contamination on the microbial community composition, surface stream sediments were collected 7 times during the year, from 5 contaminated locations and 1 control stream. Fifty-nine samples were analyzed for bacterial community composition and geochemistry. Community characterization was based on GS 454 FLX pyrosequencing with 235 Mb of 16S rRNA gene sequence targeting the V4 region. Sorting and filtering of the raw reads resulted in 588,699 high-quality sequences with lengths of >200 bp. The bacterial community consisted of 23 phyla, including Proteobacteria (ranging from 22.9 to 58.5\% per sample), Cyanobacteria (0.2 to 32.0\%), Acidobacteria (1.6 to 30.6\%), Verrucomicrobia (3.4 to 31.0\%), and unclassified bacteria. Redundancy analysis indicated no significant differences in the bacterial community structure between midchannel and near-bank samples. Significant correlations were found between the bacterial community and seasonal as well as geochemical factors. Furthermore, several community members within the Proteobacteria group that includes sulfate-reducing bacteria and within the Verrucomicrobia group appeared to be associated positively with Hg and MeHg. This study is the first to indicate an influence of MeHg on the in situ microbial community and suggests possible roles of these bacteria in the Hg/MeHg cycle.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol and referenced in Applied Microbiology: Open Access

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