Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 11, Issue 1,2013
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Effects of heavy metal pollution on microbial communities and activities of mining soils in Central Tibet, China 


Dan-na Zhou 1, Fu-ping Zhang 2, 3, Zheng-ying Duan 1, Ze-wen Liu 1, Ke-li Yang 1, Rui Guo 1, Fang-yan Yuan 1, Yong-xiang Tian 1, *, Cheng-fang Li 2, *

Recieved Date: 2012-09-02, Accepted Date: 2013-01-24


Soil microorganisms play central roles in soil ecosystems, which are far more sensitive to heavy metal pollution than soil animals or plants growing in the soils. Therefore, our objective was to study the effects of heavy metal pollution on microbial populations (bacteria, actinomyces, fungi, ammonifying bacteria, nitrobacteria and cellulolytic bacteria) and microbial activities (microbial biomass C (MBC), basal respiration and metabolic quotient (qCO2) on soils of Lawu Cu-Zn-Pb mine in central Tibet, China. Five sampling sites included the mine center (Site 1), grassland near the mine center (Site 2), traffic road of the mine (Site 3), abandoned mine tailing (Site 4) and about 2 km from the mine center (Site 5, taken as the control). A composite soil sample was collected using a soil sampler with 5 cm diameter and 10 cm depth at eight random positions in each sampling site. Results indicated that compared to the control, soils in Sites 1-4 were polluted by heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd), resulting in decrease in culturable number of bacteria, actinomyces, ammonifying bacteria, nitrobacteria and cellulolytic bacteria, and MBC contents, but increase in basal respiration and qCO2. Principle component analysis (PCA) extracted two principal components (the first principal component (M-PC1) and the second principal component (M-PC2) using microbial parameter data, where M-PC1 explained 53.7% of the original variances and M-PC2 accounted for 32.5% of the variances; moreover, only one principal component (H-PC) was extracted from heavy metal data, representing 92.7% of the original variances. Linear regression analysis showed that heavy metal contents were significantly related to microbial populations and activities except to fungi and M-PC2, and stronger correlation (r = 0.94) was observed between the scores of H-PC with the scores of M-PC1 than other microbial parameters, suggesting that it might be feasible to use M-PC1 as an integrated microbial index combining microbial population and activity to assess changes in soil environment polluted by heavy metals in central Tibet, China. 


Heavy metal pollution, microbial populations, microbial activities, central Tibet

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2013
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Category: Environment
Pages: 676-681

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