Mercury-resistant bacteria in Antarctic ecosystems

  • I. B. Sioma
  • V. M. Hovorukha
  • O. B. Tashyrev


Aim. The research was focused on the assessment of the possible resistance of Antarctic microorganisms to mercury ions. Methods. Conventional microbiological methods of introducing of decimal dilutions to agar medium. Results. Microorganisms resistant to Hg2+ in high concentrations (up to 500 mg/l) were discovered among samples from Antarctica. The majority of Hg2+-resistant microorganisms was found in moss-lichen and soil ecosystems. The least of
Hg2+-resistant microorganisms was found in organics-rich humus ecosystems. Conclusions. In Antarctic microbiocenoses were discovered for the first time microorganisms resistant to mercury in “bactericidal” concentrations in spite of absence of this element in the natural ecosystems. Apparently, the genome of these microorganisms contains genes that provide the mechanisms of microbial resistance to toxic mercury.

Keywords: mercury, metal resistance, Antarctic microorganisms.


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