Effects of Soil Moisture and Nickel Contamination on Microbial Respiration Rates in Heavy Metal-Polluted Soils
Justyna Morawska-Płoskonka, Maria Niklińska
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Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University,
Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(5):1411-1418
Soil microorganisms may be both sensitive and resilient to various disturbances. The effects of a single stressor on soil microorganisms have been well studied, but only limited research has been carried out to test the effects of simultaneous action of diverse stressors.
Soil samples were collected from a long-term polluted zinc and lead site and an unpolluted site. Modeling studies assumed spiking soils with five different concentrations of nickel (400, 800, 1.600, 3.200, and 6.400 mg Ni·kg-1 dry weight soil) and their incubation under different humidity conditions (10%, 75%, and 120% of water holding capacity). We wanted to test if additional environmental disturbances have a dif- ferent effect on microorganisms from polluted and unpolluted soils.
The study showed that after 30 and 120 days of incubation, increasing Ni pollution inhibited microbial respiration rate (R), both in unpolluted and long-term metal polluted soils, irrespective of soil moisture. After 30 days of the experiment, microbial communities in both soils demonstrated a similar response to the addi- tional toxicant. However, after 120 days of exposure to Ni, microbial communities from the unpolluted soil showed much higher inhibition of R than microbes from the polluted soils (p<0.001). The results might sug- gest that Ni co-tolerance mechanisms occurred in long-term metal polluted microbial communities.
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