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Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume 169, 2021, 112549

Deep-sea mercury resistant bacteria from the Central Indian Ocean: A potential candidate for mercury bioremediation

Gajendra Joshia, Balakrishnan Meenaa, Pankaj Vermab, Jibananand Nayaka, Nambali Valsalan Vinithkumara, Gopal Dharanib

Atal Centre for Ocean Science and Technology for Islands, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, Port Blair 744103, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.


Deep-sea bacteria when grown in normal environmental conditions get morphologically and genetically adapted to resist the provided culture conditions for their survival, making them a possible aspirant in mercury bioremediation. In this study, seawater samples were collected from different depths of the Central Indian Ocean and seven mercury resistant bacteria (resistant to 100 mg L-1 concentration of inorganic Hg as HgCl2) were isolated. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the identified isolates belong to the genera PseudomonasBacillus and Pseudoalteromonas. The presence of the merA gene in the isolates contributes to the effective volatilization of mercury. The Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-Spectroscopy analysis revealed that the isolates can reduce up to >80% of inorganic mercury. Moreover, Fourier Transform Infrared spectrum analysis indicates that functional groups play a key role in the mechanism of adaptation towards Hg+2 reduction. Thus, the deep-sea bacteria expressed significant tolerance and reduction potential towards ionic mercury.

Keywords: Mercury detoxification, Deep-sea bacteria, Volatilization, merA gene.

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