Rechargeable batteries in smartphones, cars and tablets don't last forever. Old batteries often wind up in landfills or incinerators, potentially harming the environment. And valuable materials remain locked inside.
Plants and microbes coexist or compete for survival and their cohesive interactions play a vital role in adapting to metalliferous environments, and can thus be explored to improve microbe-assisted phytoremediation.
Tardigrades, tiny aquatic creatures found in habitats from backyard ponds to Antarctic glaciers, are tough enough to survive the radiation-fraught perils of space. But for a long time, scientists couldn’t agree on why the animals—also known as water bears—are so hardy. Now, researchers have identified a gene that protects the tardigrades’ DNA from radiation, BBC reports. The gene, called Dsup, showed its importance when researchers inserted it into human DNA strands and blasted them with x-rays.
A mercury resistant bacterial strain SE2 was isolated from contaminated soil. The 16s rRNA gene sequencing confirms the strain as Sphingopyxis belongs to the Sphingomonadaceae family of the α-Proteobacteria group. The isolate showed high resistance to mercury with estimated concentrations of Hg that caused 50% reduction in growth (EC50) of 5.97 and 6.22 mg/L and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 32.19and 34.95 mg/L in minimal and rich media, respectively. The qualitative detection of volatilized mercury and the presence of mercuric reductase enzyme proved that the strain SE2 can potentially remediate mercury. ICP-QQQ-MS analysis of the remaining mercury in experimental broths indicated that a maximum of 44% mercury was volatilized within 6 hr by live SE2 culture. Furthermore a small quantity (23%) of mercury was accumulated in live cell pellets. While no volatilization was caused by dead cells, sorption of mercury was confirmed. The mercuric reductase gene merA was amplified and sequenced. Homology was observed among the amino acid sequences of mercuric reductase enzyme of different organisms from α-Proteobacteria and ascomycota groups.
Bioleaching is the mobilization of metal cations from insoluble ores by microorganisms. Biofilms can enhance this process. Since Sulfobacillus often appears in leaching heaps or reactors, this genus has aroused attention.
This study aimed to isolate, identify, and characterise metal-tolerant fungi colonising poplar roots at a metal-contaminated phytoremediation site. Poplar roots were colonised by arbuscular mycorrhizal, ectomycorrhizal, and endophytic fungi, and the species were determined by ITS molecular analyses. Eight different isolates were successfully isolated into pure culture. Three isolates belonging to the Helotiales (P02, P06) and the Serendipita vermifera species (P04) were highly tolerant to metals (Cd, Zn, Pb, and Cu) compared to the mycorrhizal Hebeloma isolates. The three isolates degraded complex carbohydrates, such as xylan and cellulose, indicating that they could partially degrade root cell walls and penetrate into cells. This hypothesis was confirmed by further in vitro re-synthesis experiments, which showed that the three isolates colonised root tissues of poplar plantlets whereas two of them formed microsclerotia-like structures. Taken together, these results suggest an endophytic lifestyle of these isolates. This is the first evidence of S. vermifera as a root endophyte of poplar. A new endophytic putative species belonging to the Helotiales and closely related to Leohumicola is also reported. Interestingly, and when compared to mock-inoculated plants, both P06 and P04 isolates increased the number of root tips of inoculated poplar plantlets in vitro. Moreover, the S. vermifera P04 isolate also increased the shoot biomass. The results are discussed in relation to the potential use of endophytic strains for tree-based phytoremediation of metal-contaminated sites.
Mary Creagh: The microbead pollution contaminating our marine life does not respect borders. As UK ministers meet on World Oceans Day they must look to find solutions by working with our neighbours and partners in Europe
The hyperaccumulating ecotype of Sedum alfredii Hance is a cadmium (Cd)/zinc/lead co-hyperaccumulating species of Crassulaceae. It is a promising phytoremediation candidate accumulating substantial heavy metal ions without obvious signs of poisoning.
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