Characterization of marine bacteria highly resistant to mercury exhibiting multiple resistances to toxic chemicals
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Several strains of bacteria unusually highly resistant to mercury were isolated from seawater and marine sediment samples and identified by 16S rDNA sequencing and were also characterized by a battery of biochemical and morphological tests. The bacterial isolates were identified to belong to the genera Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Brevibacterium and Bacillus. Many of the chosen isolates were tested for growth in the presence of different heavy metals and a variety of xenobiotics. Growth curves of all six bacteria highly resistant to mercury examined for growth at different concentrations of Hg exhibited prolonged lag phase, during which time necessary physiological adaptations to toxic milieu were undergone. All the strains tested for antibiotic resistance showed little to no effect of antibiotics on their normal growth. Results of this study demonstrate the occurrence of diverse groups of marine prokaryotes capable of high tolerance to mercury with a potential to degrade a variety of toxic heavy metals and xenobiotics.
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