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Determination of physiological, taxonomic, and molecular characteristics of a cultivable arsenic-resistant bacterial community


A collection of 219 bacterial arsenic-resistant isolates was constituted from neutral arsenic mine drainage sediments. Isolates were grown aerobically or anaerobically during 21 days on solid DR2A medium using agar or gelan gum as gelling agent, with 7 mM As(III) or 20 mM As(V) as selective pressure. Interestingly, the sum of the different incubation conditions used (arsenic form, gelling agent, oxygen pressure) results in an overall increase of the isolate diversity. Isolated strains mainly belonged to Proteobacteria (63 %), Actinobacteria (25 %), and Bacteroidetes (10 %). The most representative genera were Pseudomonas (20 %), Acinetobacter (8 %), and Serratia (15 %) among the Proteobacteria; Rhodococcus (13 %) and Microbacterium (5 %) among Actinobacteria; and Flavobacterium (13 %) among the Bacteroidetes. Isolates were screened for the presence of arsenic-related genes (arsB, ACR3(1), ACR3(2), aioA, arsM, and arrA). In this way, 106 ACR3(1)-, 74 arsB-, 22 aioA-, 14 ACR3(2)-, and one arsM-positive PCR products were obtained and sequenced. Analysis of isolate sensitivity toward metalloids (arsenite, arsenate, and antimonite) revealed correlations between taxonomy, sensitivity, and genotype. Antimonite sensitivity correlated with the presence of ACR3(1) mainly present in Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria, and arsenite or antimonite resistance correlated with arsB gene presence. The presence of either aioA gene or several different arsenite carrier genes did not ensure a high level of arsenic resistance in the tested conditions.

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Audrey Cordi was supported by grants from the French Ministry of Research. This study was financed by the EC2CO program (Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers, CNRS). Authors thank the International Science Editing for rendering English editing services on this paper.

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Correspondence to P. Bauda.

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Cordi, A., Pagnout, C., Devin, S. et al. Determination of physiological, taxonomic, and molecular characteristics of a cultivable arsenic-resistant bacterial community. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 13753–13763 (2015).

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  • Arsenic
  • Resistance
  • Bacterial isolates
  • Metabolism
  • Functional genes
  • Culture