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Journal of Basic Microbiology

Bacterial community analysis of cypermethrin enrichment cultures and bioremediation of cypermethrin contaminated soils

Shamsa Akbar, Sikander Sultan and Michael Kertesz

Department of Microbiology and Molecular genetics, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.


Cypermethrin is widely used for insect control; however, its toxicity toward aquatic life requires its complete removal from contaminated areas where the natural degradation ability of microbes can be utilized. Agricultural soil with extensive history of CM application was used to prepare enrichment cultures using cypermethrin as sole carbon source for isolation of cypermethrin degrading bacteria and bacterial community analysis using PCR-DGGE of 16 S rRNA gene. DGGE analysis revealed that dominant members of CM enrichment culture were associated with α-proteobacteria followed by γ-proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria. Three potential CM-degrading isolates identified as Ochrobactrum anthropi JCm1, Bacillus megaterium JCm2, and Rhodococcus sp. JCm5 degraded 86–100% of CM (100 mg L−1) within 10 days. These isolates were also able to degrade other pyrethroids, carbofuran, and cypermethrin degradation products. Enzyme activity assays revealed that enzymes involved in CM-degradation were inducible and showed activity when strains were grown on cypermethrin. Degradation kinetics of cypermethrin (200 mg kg−1) in soils inoculated with isolates JCm1, JCm2, and JCm5 suggested time-dependent disappearance of cypermethrin with rate constants of 0.0516, 0.0425, and 0.0807 d−1, respectively, following first order rate kinetics. The isolated bacterial strains were among dominant genera selected under CM enriched conditions and represent valuable candidates for in situ bioremediation of contaminated soils and waters.

Keywords: Cypermethrin; Pyrethroids; Biodegradation; DGGE; Enrichment culture technique; Bioremediation

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