Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 5, pp 2391–2398 | Cite as

Lead-resistant bacteria from Saint Clair River sediments and Pb removal in aqueous solutions

  • Nichole Bowman
  • Drashti Patel
  • Alysia Sanchez
  • Wentao Xu
  • Ali Alsaffar
  • Sonia M. Tiquia-Arashiro
Environmental biotechnology


Lead is an extensive contaminant. Pb-resistant bacterial strains were isolated from Saint Clair River sediments on two enrichment media with increasing concentrations of Pb (NO3)2. Bacterial strains that grew at 1.25 or 1.5 g L−1 of Pb (NO3)2 L−1) were purified and selected for further study. Ninety-seven Pb-resistant strains were screened for the ability to produce bioflocculants. The majority of the Pb-resistant strains demonstrated moderate to high flocculation activity. Metal removal assays demonstrated that the higher is the flocculation activity, the higher is the efficiency of metal removal. In the multi-metal solutions, the bacterial strain with the highest flocculation activity (R19) had the highest metal removing capability (six out of eight metals) and the highest metal removal efficiency. The highly selective affinity towards Pb2+ observed for strain R19 suggests its use for the recovery of Pb2+ from multiple metal solutions. Because they are well adapted to unfavorable conditions due to their resistance to metals (e.g., Pb) and antibiotics, these characteristics may help in developing an effective process for wastewater treatment using these strains.


Bioflocculant Biosorption Pb tolerance Exopolysaccharides Metal resistance 



This research was funded by the University of Michigan-Dearborn Office of Sponsored Programs. We thanked the anonymous reviewers for critically reading the manuscript and suggesting substantial improvements.

Author contributions

Tiquia-Arashiro conceived and designed the study. Bowman performed the experiments and analyzed the data with Patel, Sanchez, Xu, and Alsaffar. Alsaffar collected the sediment samples and field data. Tiquia-Arashiro, Bowman, Patel, and Sanchez wrote the manuscript, which was completed with input from Xu and Alsaffar

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any experiments involving human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2018_8772_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (115 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 114 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural SciencesUniversity of Michigan-DearbornDearbornUSA

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