A combination method to study microbial communities and activities in zinc contaminated soil

Yong Zhou, Jun Yao*, Martin M F CHOI, Yanjiao Chen, Haiyan Chen, Russel Mohammad, Rensheng Zhuang, Huilun Chen, Fei Wang, Thomas Maskow, Gyula Zaray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc (Zn) plays a special role in soil ecology and fertility because it can support the growth of soil organisms or inhibit their growth depending on its concentrations. In this work, the effects of different concentrations of Zn on soil microbial communities and activities were analyzed by loading five different doses of Zn (160-6000 μg g-1) into a wheat surface soil. The microbial metabolic process revealed a significant bimodal pattern at high concentrations of Zn (>1920 μg g-1). This phenomenon suggested that soil microorganisms were very sensitive to zincous poisoning. A variety of soil quality properties were also measured and assessed. The results showed slower bacterial growth in soil cultures polluted with high levels of Zn. In addition, two kinds of fungi were identified by morphology and glomalin-related soil protein content in the Zn-contaminated soil. The growth of the first kind was inhibited with increase in Zn concentration. By contrast, the second kind could survive and continue to grow with increasing doses of Zn at 160-1920 μg g-1 and its growth began to decline with further increase in Zn concentration. Finally, the fungus could not survive at very high (6000 μg g-1) Zn concentration. In this work, we conclude that soil microbial communities and activities can adapt to Zn pollution to a certain extent. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-881
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Metabolic activity
  • Microbial community
  • Microcalorimetry
  • Soil
  • Zinc pollution


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