Diversity and Distribution of Heavy Metal-Resistant Bacteria in Polluted Sediments of the Araça Bay, São Sebastião (SP), and the Relationship Between Heavy Metals and Organic Matter Concentrations
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Heavy metals influence the population size, diversity, and metabolic activity of bacteria. In turn, bacteria can develop heavy metal resistance mechanisms, and this can be used in bioremediation of contaminated areas. The purpose of the present study was to understand how heavy metals concentration influence on diversity and distribution of heavy metal-resistant bacteria in Araça Bay, São Sebastião, on the São Paulo coast of Brazil. The hypothesis is that activities that contribute for heavy metal disposal and the increase of metals concentrations in environment can influence in density, diversity, and distribution of heavy metal-resistant bacteria. Only 12 % of the isolated bacteria were sensitive to all of the metals tested. We observed that the highest percentage of resistant strains were in areas closest to the São Sebastião channel, where port activity occurs and have bigger heavy metals concentrations. Bacterial isolated were most resistant to Cr, followed by Zn, Cd, and Cu. Few strains resisted to Cd levels greater than 200 mg L−1. In respect to Cr, 36 % of the strains were able to grow in the presence of as much as 3200 mg L−1. Few strains were able to grow at concentrations of Zn and Cu as high as 1600 mg L−1, and none grew at the highest concentration of 3200 mg L−1. Bacillus sp. was most frequently isolated and may be the dominant genus in heavy metal-polluted areas. Staphylococcus sp., Planococcus maritimus, and Vibrio aginolyticus were also isolated, suggesting their potential in bioremediation of contaminated sites.
KeywordsBacillus sp. Bacterial resistance Contamination Heavy metals Port areas
The authors would like to thank UNESP and all members of the Marine Microbiology Laboratory (MICROMAR) and of the Structural Molecular Biology Laboratory (LABIMES). The Brazilian agency known as the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) are acknowledged for financial support: The Biota Araça Research Project (process number: 2011/50317-5), coordinated by Dr. Cecília Amaral.
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