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Current Microbiology
Vol. 69, No. 3, 2014; Page: 374 - 380

Potential Application in Mercury Bioremediation of a Marine Sponge-Isolated Bacillus cereus strain Pj1

Juliana F. Santos-Gandelman, Kimberly Cruz, Sharron Crane, Guilherme Muricy, Marcia Giambiagi-deMarval, Tamar Barkay, Marinella S. Laport



Abstract

Sponges are sessile marine invertebrates that can live for many years in the same location, and therefore, they have the capability to accumulate anthropogenic pollutants such as metals over a long period. Almost all marine sponges harbor a large number of microorganisms within their tissues. The Bacillus cereus strain Pj1 was isolated from a marine sponge, Polymastia janeirensis, and was found to be resistant to 100 μM HgCl2 and to 10 μM methylmercury (MeHg). Pj1 was also highly resistant to other metals, including CdCl2 and Pb(NO3)2, alone or in combination. The meroperon was located on the bacterial chromosome, and the volatilization test indicated that the B. cereus Pj1 was able to reduce Hg2+–Hg0. Cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry demonstrated that Pj1 volatilized 80 % of the total MeHg that it was exposed to and produced elemental Hg when incubated with 1.5 μM MeHg. Pj1 also demonstrated sensitivity to all antibiotics tested. In addition, Pj1 demonstrated a potential for biosurfactant production, presenting an emulsification activity better than synthetic surfactants. The results of this study indicate that B. cereus Pj1 is a strain that can potentially be applied in the bioremediation of HgCl2 and MeHg contamination in aquatic environments.

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