Forty-six bacterial cultures, including one culture collection strain, thirty from the rhizosphere of Alyssum murale and fifteen from Ni-rich soil, were tested for their ability to tolerate arsenate, cadmium, chromium, zinc, mercury, lead, cobalt, copper, and nickel in their growth medium. The resistance patterns, expressed as minimum inhibitory concentrations, for all cultures to the nine different metal ions were surveyed by using the agar dilution method. A large number of the cultures were resistant to Ni (100%), Pb (100%), Zn (100%), Cu (98%), and Co (93%). However, 82, 71, 58 and 47% were sensitive to As, Hg, Cd and Cr(VI), respectively. All cultures had multiple metal-resistant, with heptametal resistance as the major pattern (28.8%). Five of the cultures (about of 11.2% of the total), specifically Arthrobacter rhombi AY509239, Clavibacter xyli AY509235, Microbacterium arabinogalactanolyticum AY509226, Rhizobium mongolense AY509209 and Variovorax paradoxus AY512828 were tolerant to nine different metals. The polymerase chain reaction in combination with DNA sequence analysis was used to investigate the genetic mechanism responsible for the metal resistance in some of these gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria that were, highly resistant to Hg, Zn, Cr and Ni. The czc, chr, ncc and mer genes that are responsible for resistance to Zn, Cr, Ni and Hg, respectively, were shown to be present in these bacteria by using PCR. In the case of, M. arabinogalactanolyticum AY509226 these genes were shown to have high homology to the czcD, chrB, nccA, and mer genes of Ralstonia metallidurans CH34. Therefore, Hg, Zn, Cr and Ni resistance genes are widely distributed in both gram-positive and gram-negative isolates obtained from A. murale rhizosphere and Ni-rich soils.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are very grateful to Patrick Elia, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, USA. for help and technical advice. The first author is also thankful to US–Egypt program for providing financial support in the form of a Fellowship.
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- Alyssum murale
- Heavy metals
- Metal resistance genes
- Serpentine soil