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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Jan 30;185(2-3):829-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.09.095. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Isolation of phosphate solubilizing bacteria and their potential for lead immobilization in soil.

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Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, Australia.


Lead (Pb), a highly toxic heavy metal forms stable compounds with phosphate (P). The potential of phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) to immobilize Pb by enhancing solubilization of insoluble P compounds was tested in this research. Eighteen different PSB strains isolated from P amended and Pb contaminated soils were screened for their efficiency in P solubilization. The PSB isolated from P amended soils solubilized 217-479 mg/L of P while the PSB from Pb contaminated soil solubilized 31-293 mg/L of P. Stepwise multiple regression analysis and P solubility kinetics indicated that the major mechanism of P solubilization by PSB is the pH reduction through the release of organic acids. From the isolated bacteria, two PSB were chosen for Pb immobilization and these bacteria were identified as Pantoea sp. and Enterobacter sp., respectively. The PSB significantly increased P solubilization by 25.0% and 49.9% in the case of Pantoea sp., and 63.3% and 88.6% in the case of Enterobacter sp. for 200 and 800 mg/kg of rock phosphate (RP) addition, respectively, thereby enhancing the immobilization of Pb by 8.25-13.7% in the case of Pantoea sp. and 14.7-26.4% in the case of Enterobacter sp. The ability of PSB to solubilize P, promote plant growth, and immobilize Pb can be used for phytostabilization of Pb contaminated soils.

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