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Tolerance of Heavy Metals by Gram Positive Soil Bacteria

Authors: I. V. N. Rathnayake, Mallavarapu Megharaj, Nanthi Bolan, Ravi Naidu


With the intention of screening for heavy metal tolerance, a number of bacteria were isolated and characterized from a pristine soil. Two Gram positive isolates were identified as Paenibacillus sp. and Bacillus thuringeinsis. Tolerance of Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ by these bacteria was studied and found that both bacteria were highly sensitive to Cu2+ compared to other two metals. Both bacteria showed the same pattern of metal tolerance in the order Zn+ > Cd2+ > Cu2+. When the metal tolerance in both bacteria was compared, Paenibacillus sp. showed the highest sensitivity to Cu2+ where as B. thuringiensis showed highest sensitivity to Cd2+ and Zn2+ .These findings revealed the potential of Paenibacillus sp. in developing a biosensor to detect Cu2+ in environmental samples.

Keywords: Heavy metals, bacteria, soil, tolerance.

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