Mercury pollution is a major environmental problem that arises as a result of natural processes as well as from anthropogenic sources. In response to toxic mercury compounds, microbes have developed astonishing array of resistance systems to detoxify them. To address this challenge, this study was aimed in screening bacterial isolates for their tolerance against varied concentrations of phenylmercuric acetate. Mercury transformation by bacteria being sensitive to factors such as available carbon source, etc. that affect mer-mediated transformation, screened mercury tolerant bacteria were also studied for their tolerance to different antimicrobials and carbon sources, followed by identification using biochemical as well as 16S rRNA approach. Following identification, gene encoding organomercurial lyase catalyzing protonolytic cleavage of C–Hg bond of organic mercury was amplified using gene specific primers, cloned in pGEMT® easy vector and sequenced. Microbe-based approach using organomercurial lyase encoded by merB gene being potentially economic, provides foundation to facilitate genetic manipulation of this environmentally important enzyme to remove high concentrations of obstinate mercury using holistic, multifaceted approach for use in bioremediation through generation of transgenics or as catalyst for use in bioreactors.
Mercury Horizontal Gene Transfer Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy Mercury Resistance Yamuna River
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One of the authors, Arif Tasleem Jan is thankful to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, for financial assistance in terms of fellowship. Authors are also thankful to Dr. Inshad (Scientist, Indian institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu) for providing standard Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027 strain.
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