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Similarity of microbial and meiofaunal community analyses for mapping ecological effects of heavy-metal contamination in soil


, : Similarity of microbial and meiofaunal community analyses for mapping ecological effects of heavy-metal contamination in soil. Fems Microbiology Ecology 40(2): 113-122

The effect of long-term heavy-metal contamination on soil microbial and meiofaunal communities was assessed with a view to determining whether analysis of these communities could be used for ecological assessment of contaminated sites. Thirty soil cores were taken from an industrial site formerly used for the burning of waste from an explosives factory. The predominant contaminants in the soil were a range of heavy metals, including lead, copper and zinc. The numbers of culturable bacteria (especially those grown on Pseudomonas selective media) and the microbial community response to a suite of 95 carbon sources were suppressed in samples with high heavy-metal contamination. This corresponded to a reduction in the density and evenness of the nematode communities in the samples with high metal concentrations. Conversely the bacterial counts and responses to the 95 carbon sources were greater at sites with higher and more diverse populations of nematodes. However, epifluorescence counts of bacteria and the profiles of extracted fatty acids were not consistently altered by the heavy-metal contamination. These results suggest that culturable bacteria are effective indicators of pollution in soil, and reflect the perturbations seen in other components of the soil biota. Furthermore, this is the first study to show that both meiofaunal communities and microbial communities give similar indications of the ecological impact of heavy-metal contamination in soil.

US$19.90

PMID: 19709218

DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2002.tb00943.x


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