Changes in Bacterial Community Structure and Abundance in Agricultural Soils under Varying Levels of Arsenic Contamination

Suvendu Das, Jiin Shuh Jean, Sandeep Kar, Chia Chuan Liu

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Arsenic contamination from groundwater used to irrigate crops is a major issue across several agriculturally important areas of Asia. Assessing bacterial community composition in highly contaminated sites could lead to the identification of novel bioremediation strategies. In this study, the bacterial community structure and abundance are assessed in agricultural soils with varying levels of arsenic contamination at Ambagarh Chauki block, Chhattisgarh, India, based on polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) of the 16S rRNA gene and the most probable number-polymerase chain reaction (MPN-PCR). The results revealed that the bacterial communities of arsenic-contaminated soils are dominated by β-proteobacteria (36%), γ-proteobacteria (21%), δ-proteobacteria (11%), α-proteobacteria (11%), and Bacteroidetes (11%). The bacterial composition of high arsenic-contaminated soils differed significantly from that of low arsenic-contaminated soils. The Proteobacteria appeared to be more resistant to arsenic contamination, while the Bacteroidetes and Nitrospirae were more sensitive to it. The bacterial abundance determined by MPN-PCR decreased significantly as As-toxicity increased. In addition to As, other trace metals, like Pb, U, Cu, Ni, Sn, Zn and Zr, significantly (p < 0.01) explain the changes in bacterial structural diversity in agricultural soils with different level of arsenic contamination, as determined by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-644
Number of pages10
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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