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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Relationships between Bacterial Tolerance Levels and Forms of Copper and Zinc in Soils


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1570-1575
    Received: Apr 10, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): ksaeki@agr.kyushu-u.ac.jp
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  1. K. Saeki *a,
  2. T. Kunitob,
  3. H. Oyaizuc and
  4. S. Matsumotoc
  1. a Biotron Institute, Kyushu Univ., Hakozaki, Fukuoka, 812-8581, Japan
    b Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime Univ., Bunkyo-cho 3, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan
    c Dep. of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The Univ. of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan


The effects of various fractions of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) on soil bacteria were evaluated by the heavy metal tolerance level of the bacterial community (IC50) in soil samples collected near a mine. The IC50 values had no relationship with the total concentrations of Zn and Cu in the soils, but were weakly correlated with the 0.05 M CaCl2–extractable form of each metal in the soils (Cu: R 2 = 0.670, p < 0.01; Zn: R 2 = 0.453, p < 0.05). It was found that the IC50 correlated strongly with the total concentration of each metal in the extracts from water-saturated soil samples, described below as “soil solution” (Cu: R 2 = 0.789, p < 0.01; Zn: R 2 = 0.617, p < 0.01). The speciation of these metals in the soil solutions was estimated using an equilibrium thermodynamic computer model, SOILCHEM. Simulated free Cu ion ranged from 18 to 98% of total Cu, and organic complexes of Cu ranged from <1 to 56%. In all samples, Zn existing as the free ion was estimated to be more than 80% of total Zn in the soil solutions. The IC50 values were also correlated with the estimated free metal ion activities, but with slightly lower correlation coefficients than found for total concentration in the soil solutions (Cu: R 2 = 0.735, p < 0.01; Zn: R 2 = 0.610, p < 0.01). The results suggest that not only high metal ion activities, but also total dissolved metal concentrations in soil solutions may affect the bacterial community.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1570–1575.