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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Feb;93(3):1305-14. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3454-5. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Characterization of a marine-isolated mercury-resistant Pseudomonas putida strain SP1 and its potential application in marine mercury reduction.

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Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 17 Chunhui Road, Yantai 264003, China.


The Pseudomonas putida strain SP1 was isolated from marine environment and was found to be resistant to 280 μM HgCl₂. SP1 was also highly resistant to other metals, including CdCl₂, CoCl₂, CrCl₃, CuCl₂, PbCl₂, and ZnSO₄, and the antibiotics ampicillin (Ap), kanamycin (Kn), chloramphenicol (Cm), and tetracycline (Tc). mer operon, possessed by most mercury-resistant bacteria, and other diverse types of resistant determinants were all located on the bacterial chromosome. Cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry and a volatilization test indicated that the isolated P. putida SP1 was able to volatilize almost 100% of the total mercury it was exposed to and could potentially be used for bioremediation in marine environments. The optimal pH for the growth of P. putida SP1 in the presence of HgCl₂ and the removal of HgCl₂ by P. putida SP1 was between 8.0 and 9.0, whereas the optimal pH for the expression of merA, the mercuric reductase enzyme in mer operon that reduces reactive Hg²⁺ to volatile and relatively inert monoatomic Hg⁰ vapor, was around 5.0. LD₅₀ of P. putida SP1 to flounder and turbot was 1.5 × 10⁹ CFU. Biofilm developed by P. putida SP1 was 1- to 3-fold lower than biofilm developed by an aquatic pathogen Pseudomonas fluorescens TSS. The results of this study indicate that P. putida SP1 is a low virulence strain that can potentially be applied in the bioremediation of HgCl₂ contamination over a broad range of pH.

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