Effect of long-term industrial waste effluent pollution on soil enzyme activities and bacterial community composition

  • Gangavarapu Subrahmanyam
  • Ju-Pei Shen
  • Yu-Rong Liu
  • Gattupalli Archana
  • Li-Mei ZhangEmail author


Although numerous studies have addressed the influence of exogenous pollutants on microorganisms, the effect of long-term industrial waste effluent (IWE) pollution on the activity and diversity of soil bacteria was still unclear. Three soil samples characterized as uncontaminated (R1), moderately contaminated (R2), and highly contaminated (R3) receiving mixed organic and heavy metal pollutants for more than 20 years through IWE were collected along the Mahi River basin, Gujarat, western India. Basal soil respiration and in situ enzyme activities indicated an apparent deleterious effect of IWE on microbial activity and soil function. Community composition profiling of soil bacteria using 16S rRNA gene amplification and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) method indicated an apparent bacterial community shift in the IWE-affected soils. Cloning and sequencing of DGGE bands revealed that the dominated bacterial phyla in polluted soil were affiliated with Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria, indicating that these bacterial phyla may have a high tolerance to pollutants. We suggested that specific bacterial phyla along with soil enzyme activities could be used as relevant biological indicators for long-term pollution assessment on soil quality.

Graphical Abstract

Bacterial community profiling and soil enzyme activities in long-term industrial waste effluent polluted soils


Industrial waste effluent Long-term pollution Soil enzyme activity 16S rRNA gene Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis Biological indicators 



This work was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China, and Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Trieste, Italy, under the scheme “TWAS-CAS fellowship programme for postgraduate research” to GS for the year 2010. This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41322007) and the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51221892).

Supplementary material

10661_2016_5099_MOESM1_ESM.doc (28 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gangavarapu Subrahmanyam
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ju-Pei Shen
    • 1
  • Yu-Rong Liu
    • 1
  • Gattupalli Archana
    • 2
  • Li-Mei Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology CentreThe Maharaja Sayajirao University of BarodaVadodaraIndia
  3. 3.Central Muga Eri Research and Training InstituteJorhatIndia

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