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Effects Of Long-term Heavy Metal Contamination On Soil Microbial Characteristics.

A. Oliveira, M. E. Pampulha
Published 2006 · Chemistry, Medicine

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In this study, total heavy metal content and its effects on soil microbiological characteristics were investigated in soil samples from an area with known long-term pollution problems. The total heavy metal concentrations of contaminated soil samples were 109 and 1,558 mg/kg for Hg and As, respectively. Key microbiological parameters measured included dehydrogenase activity, ATP content and number of culturable aerobic bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi and asymbiotic nitrogen-fixers. Quantitative analysis of soil microbial populations shows a marked decrease in total culturable numbers of the different microbial groups of the contaminated soil samples. Certain groups of soil microbes were particularly sensitive to long-term contamination (asymbiotic nitrogen-fixers and heterotrophic bacteria). Dehydrogenase activity was found to be a sensitive assay for determining the effect of heavy metals on physiologically active soil microbial biomass and sustains the high applicability of this parameter for soil ecotoxicological testing as reported by other authors.
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