Short-time effect of heavy metals upon microbial community activity

TitleShort-time effect of heavy metals upon microbial community activity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWang, F, Yao, J, Si, Y, Chen, H, Russel, M, Chen, K, Qian, Y, Zaray, G, Bramanti, E

Microcalorimetry was applied to assess and compare the toxic effect of heavy metals, such as As, Cu, Cd, Cr, Co, Pb and Zn, on the soil microbial activities and community. About 1.0 g soil spiked 5.0 mg glucose and 5.0 mg ammonium sulfate, the microbial activities were recorded as power-time curves, and their indices, microbial growth rate constant k, total heat evolution Q(T), metabolic enthalpy Delta H-met and mass specific heat rate J(Q/S), were calculated. Comparing these thermodynamic parameters associated with growth yield, a general order of toxicity to the soil was found to be Cr > Pb > As > Co > Zn > Cd > Cu. When soil was exposed to heavy metals, the amount of bacteria and fungi decreased with the incubation time, and the bacterial number diminished sharply. It illustrates that fungi are more tolerant, and bacteria-fungi ratio would be altered under metal stress. To determine the status of the glucose consumed, a glucose biosensor with eggshell membrane was used to measure the remaining glucose in soil sample. Results showed that the time at which glucose was consumed completely was agreed with the microcalorimetric time to a large extent, and depended on the toxicity of heavy metals as well. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.