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Science of The Total Environment
Vol. 650, 2018, Pages: 1640-1651

Characteristics of archaea and bacteria in rice rhizosphere along a mercury gradient

Ming Ma, Hongxia Du, Tao Sun, Siwei An, Guang Yang, Dingyong Wang

College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China.


Several strains of archaea have the ability to methylate or resist mercury (Hg), and the paddy field is regarded to be conducive to Hg methylation. However, our knowledge of Hg-methylating or Hg-resistant archaea in paddy soils is very limited so far. Therefore, the distribution of archaea and bacteria in the rhizosphere (RS) and bulk soil (BS) of the rice growing in Xiushan Hg-mining area of southwest China was investigated. Bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of the rice rhizosphere along the Hg gradient was conducted. THg concentrations in RS were significantly higher than that in BS at site S1 and S2, while MeHg concentrations in RS was always higher than that in BS, except S6. Bacterial species richness estimates were much higher than that in archaea. The bacterial α-diversity in high-Hg sites was significant higher than that in low-Hg sites based on ACE and Shannon indices. At the genus level, ThiobacillusXanthomonasDefluviicoccus and Candidatus Nitrosoarchaeum were significantly more abundant in the rhizosphere of high-Hg sites, which meant that strains in these genera might play important roles in response to Hg stress. Hg-methylating archaea in the paddy field could potentially be affiliated to strains in Methanosarcina, but further evidence need to be found. The results provide reference to understand archaeal rhizosphere community along an Hg gradient paddy soils.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Archaea, Bacteria, Mercury methylation, Rhizosphere, Bulk soil, Rice paddies.

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