Characterization of indigenous bacteria from radon-rich groundwater and their tolerance to physicochemical stress

  • T. Nayak
  • D. De
  • C. Barman
  • P. Karmakar
  • A. Deb
  • P. K. DhalEmail author
Original Paper


Radiation exposure and heavy metal (HM) exposure are serious health hazards causing DNA mutation, oxidative damage and may also be responsible for various life-threatening human diseases, while bacteria can withstand such toxicity easily. This study attempted to identify inhabitant bacterial isolates from radon-contaminated groundwater of Tantloi, India, and effort has also been made to characterize their response against radiation, oxidative stress as well as heavy metal tolerance and removal. Total sixteen (16) bacterial isolates were identified as Bacillus spp., Stenotrophomonas spp., Brevibacillus sp., Chryseobacterium sp., Escherichia sp. and Microbacterium sp., which showed less number of distinct carbohydrates utilization potential but high salinity tolerance properties. In addition, Gram-positive Bacillus spp. can tolerate 1 kGy of γ radiation, 10 mM H2O2, 7 days of desiccation and different heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn and As). Four Bacillus spp. and Microbacterium sp., which showed total maximum tolerable concentration (MTC) > 8 out of 5 heavy metals, were considered for their HM removal property analysis. Five multimetal resistance strains had strong removal capacity of Pb and Zn (89–94%) followed by Cr (49–56%) and Cu/As (0.4–22%). This investigation may provide baseline information of radon-contaminated groundwater microbiology, thus could be used to formulate an appropriate strategy for radon and radionuclides remediation.


Radon contamination Groundwater γ-Radiation Heavy metal Maximum tolerable concentration (MTC) 



The author acknowledges Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, for their financial assistance. Authors are thankful to Dr. Abhijit Saha, Centre Director of UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research (Kolkata Centre) for providing Gamma radiation facility. Finally, the technical and experimental support rendered by laboratory members of the Department of Life Science and Biotechnology, Jadavpur University, is gratefully acknowledged with wholesome honesty.


Funding for the fellowship was provided by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology (Grant No. DBT/2016/JU/732).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life Science and BiotechnologyJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.School of Studies in Environmental Radiation and Archaeological Sciences, Department of PhysicsJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

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