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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Diversity of chromium-resistant and -reducing bacteria in a chromium-contaminated activated sludge.

AIMS: This study attempts to establish a relationship between the Cr(VI) resistance of the culturable microbial community and the Cr(VI) resistance and Cr(VI)-reducing ability of representative strains of each population, in order to assess whether these are exclusive characteristics of one microbial group or abilities shared among many groups. METHODS AND RESULTS: A group of 48 Cr(VI)-resistant isolates, with different colony types, was isolated from chromium-contaminated activated sludge. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis protein patterns and fatty acid methyl ester analysis identified six populations, representing 54% of the isolated bacteria, as belonging to the genera Acinetobacter and Ochrobactrum. The remaining populations included strains identified as species of the beta-Proteobacteria and high G + C Gram-positive bacteria. The Cr(VI) resistance and reduction ability of the strains were tested. All but two isolates grew in the presence of 1 mmol l(-1) Cr(VI). During enrichment, all isolates were able to survive to 2 mmol l(-1) Cr(VI) and complete Cr(VI) reduction was achieved. Representative strains of each population were able to partially reduce (5.4-39.1%) the Cr(VI) present in the growth medium. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the identified isolates have never been reported to be Cr(VI)-resistant and/or Cr(VI)-reducing strains. The mechanisms of Cr(VI) resistance and reduction may differ from group to group; therefore, it is evident that both Cr(VI) resistance and reduction are shared abilities and not an exclusive characteristic of a single group, possibly reflecting horizontal genetic transfer resulting from selective pressure in this contaminated environment. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: To our knowledge, this is the first study of a microbial community under chronic chromate stress and, as the success of microbial-based metal remediation technologies requires a better understanding of the microbial community and the population response to metal stress, it may contribute to the implementation of a strategy of bioremediation of chromate-contaminated environments.[1]


  1. Diversity of chromium-resistant and -reducing bacteria in a chromium-contaminated activated sludge. Francisco, R., Alpoim, M.C., Morais, P.V. J. Appl. Microbiol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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