ABSTRACT: The responses of activities, abundances and community structures of soil denitrifiers to mercury (Hg) stress were investigated through a short-term incubation experiment. Four soil treatments with different concentrations of Hg (CK, Hg25, Hg50, and Hg 100, denoted as 0, 25, 50, and 100 mg Hg/kg dry soil, respectively) were incubated for 28 days. Soil denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) was measured at day 3, 7 and 28. The abundances and community structures of two denitrification concerning genes, nirS (cd(1)-nitrite reductase gene) and nosZ (nitrous oxide reductase gene), were analyzed using real-time PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Results showed that soil DEA was significantly stimulated in the treatments of Hg25 and Hg50 compared with others at day 7. Meanwhile, no difference in the abundances of soil nirS and nosZ was found between Hg spiked treatments and CK, except the lower abundance of nirS (P < 0.05) in the Hg added treatments compared with that in the CK at day 28. The community structures of denitrifiers based on nirS gene presented obvious change at day 7 along with the Hg additions, however, no variation was found in all treatments based on the nosZ gene. The results indicated that Hg (Hg25 and Hg50) had a strongly short-term stimulation on soil DEA, and nirS gene is more sensitive than nosZ gene to Hg stress.
Journal of Environmental Sciences 01/2012; 24(3):369-75. · 1.66 Impact Factor