Heavy Metal Tolerance Exhibited by Bacterial Strains Sourced from Adyar River

  • K. C. Ramya Devi
  • Krishnan Mary Elizabeth Gnanambal
  • Yesupatham Babu
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 84)


A total of five water samples were collected from Adyar River during the months of November 2010–2011 and were analyzed for different physico-chemical parameters like, temperature, pH, DO, Pb, Hg, Ni, Cd, and Cr levels. The results of the study indicate that the temperature was in the range 29–31 °C and pH 7.56–8.18 along the entire sampling time. The temperature and pH range was well within the limits as specified by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) for Inland surface waters and coastal areas. The Dissolved Oxygen levels were found to be very low, which did not exceed 2 mg/L, indicating a very poor water quality. The concentration of Pb was found (greater than 10 mg/L) to have crossed the limit of tolerance as prescribed by TNPCB (Pb-0.1 mg/L). Around 30 bacterial isolates from the Adyar waters were adapted for metal tolerance test by amending with heavy metals at different concentration (5–50 mg/L). The results of bioremediation/biosorption process indicated that, out of 30 strains, 15 strains reduced/absorbed lead effectively. Pre and post-treated waters were analyzed by AAS and confirmed by ICP-OES. Biochemical characterization of the potent strain, “L” indicated that it may be Actinomycetes.


Heavy metals River waters Bacteria Bioremediation 



The authors are grateful to Tamil Nadu State Council of Science and Technology/Department of Science and Technology for the financial assistance (Ref No: SSTP/TN/09/21) and the Department of Biotechnology, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai for providing the necessary infrastructure. We also thank Sargam Laboratories, Chennai for analyzing heavy metals and Biozone Research Technologies, Chennai for helping us with preliminary identification of bacterial strains.


  1. Abbas A, Edwards C (1989) Effects of metals on a range of Streptomyces species. Appl Environ Microbiol 55:2030–2035Google Scholar
  2. Amoroso MJ, Castro GR, Carlino FJ, Romero NC, Hill RT, Oliver G (1998) Screening of heavy metal-tolerant actinomycetes isolated from the Sali River. J Gen Appl Microbiol 44:129–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. APHA, AWWA, WPCF (1998) Standard methods for examination of water and waste water. American Public Health Organisation, Washington DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  4. De Jaysankar, Sarkar A, Ramaiah N (2006) Bioremediation of toxic substances by mercury resistant marine bacteria. Ecotoxicology 15:385–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gadd GM (1986) Fungal responses towards heavy metals. In: Herbert RA, Codd GA (eds) Microbes in extreme environments. Academic Press, New York, pp 83–110Google Scholar
  6. Hughes MN, Poole RK (1989) Metals and micro-organisms. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Hughes MN, Poole RK (1991) Metal speciation and microbial growth, the hard and soft facts. J Gen Microbiol 137:725–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Joseph KO, Srivastava JP (1993) Pollution of Estuarine systems: heavy metal contamination in the sediments of Estuarine systems around Madras. J Indian Soc Soil Sci 41(1):79–83Google Scholar
  9. Joshi-Tope G, Francis AJ (1995) Mechanisms of biodegradation of metal-citrate complexes by Pseudomonas fluroescens. J Bacteriol 177:1989–1993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kar D, Sur P, Mandal SK, Saha T, Kole RK (2008) Assessment of heavy metal pollution in surface water. Int J Environ Sci Technol 5(1):119–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Koshy M, Nayar TV (1999) Water quality aspects of river pamba. Pollut Res 18(4):501–510Google Scholar
  12. Lokhande RS, Kelkar N (1999) Studies on heavy metals in water of Vasai Creek, Maharashtra. Ind J Environ Prot 19(9):664–668Google Scholar
  13. Lugauskas A, Levinskaite L, Peeiulyte D, Repee kiene J, Motuzas A, Vaisvalavieius R, Prosyeevas I 2005. Effect of copper, zinc and lead acetates on microorganisms in soil. Ecology 1:61–69Google Scholar
  14. Mergeay M (1991) Towards an understanding of the genetics of bacterial metal resistance. Trends Biotechnol 9:17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Moore JW (1991) Inorganic contaminants of surface water: research and monitoring priorities. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. National Environmental Board Report (1994) Enhancement and conservation of national environmental quality. Act B.E.2537, Royal Government GazetteGoogle Scholar
  17. Nies DH (1992) Resistance to cadmium, cobalt, zinc and nickel in microbes. Plasmid 27:17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nurnberg HW (1982) Voltametric trace analysis in ecological chemistry of toxic metals. Pure Appl Chem 54(4):853–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Prabhahar C, Saleshrani K, Dhanasekaran D, Tharmaraj K, Baskaran K (2011) Seasonal variations in physico-chemical parameters of Chennai, Coovum River, Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Curr Life Sci 1(2):33–35Google Scholar
  20. Rajbanshi A (2008) Study on heavy metal resistant bacteria in Guheswori sewage treatment plant. Our Nat 6:52–57Google Scholar
  21. Rajendran N, Sanjeevi SB, Khan SA, Balasubramanian T (2004) Ecology and biodiversity of Eastern Ghats—estuaries of India. ENVIS Newslett 10(3):2–7Google Scholar
  22. Reisinger K, Stoeppler M, Nurnberg HW (1981) Evidence for the absence of biological methylation of lead in the environment. Nature 29:228–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shanmugam P, Neelamani S, Ahn Y-H, Philip L, Hong G-H (2006) Assessment of the levels of coastal marine pollution of Chennai city, Southern India. Water Resour Manag 21(7):1187–1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Silver S (1998) Genes for all metals—a bacterial view of the periodic table. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 20:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thayer JS, Brinckman FE (1982) The biological methylation of metals and metalloids. Adv Organomet Chem 20:313–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thomas RL, Jaquet JM (1976) Mercury in the surficial sediments of Lake Erie. J Fish Res Board Can 33:404–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Urrutia MM, Beveridge TJ (1993) Remobilization of heavy metals retained as oxyhydroxides or silicates by Bacillus subtilis cells. Appl Environ Microbiol 59:4323–4329Google Scholar
  28. Uzel A, Ozdemir G (2009) Metal biosorption capacity of the organic solvent tolerant Pseudomonas fluorescens TEM08. Biores Technol 100:542–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Valli S, Sugasini SS, Aysha OS, Nirmala P, Vinoth Kumar P, Reena A (2012). Antimicrobial potential of Actinomycetes species isolated from marine environment. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 469–473Google Scholar
  30. Venugopal T, Giridharan L, Jayaprakash M, Velmurugan PM (2009) A comprehensive geochemical evaluation of the water quality of river Adyar, India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 82:211–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Winkler L (1888) The determination of the dissolved oxygen in water. J Am Chem Soc 21(2):2843–2855Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. C. Ramya Devi
    • 1
  • Krishnan Mary Elizabeth Gnanambal
    • 1
  • Yesupatham Babu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologySri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Deemed UniversityPorur, ChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyBishop Heber CollegeTrichyIndia

Personalised recommendations