Using a Special Bacterium to Boost Radish Resistance and Clean Up Chromium Soil

Jim Crocker
10th May, 2024

Using a Special Bacterium to Boost Radish Resistance and Clean Up Chromium Soil

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Henan University discovered a bacteria, Microbacterium LBA108, that reduces toxic chromium in the environment
  • The LBA108 strain removed 96.64% of Cr(VI) from a solution in 48 hours, making it less harmful
  • When used with radish seedlings, LBA108 improved plant growth and reduced chromium levels in edible parts
Chromium (Cr) is a heavy metal commonly used in industrial processes, and its more toxic form, Cr(VI), poses a significant threat to human health and the environment. It can cause cancer and other severe health issues when organisms are exposed to it, particularly through the food chain. Addressing this problem, scientists have been exploring various methods to remove Cr(VI) from the environment in a safe and cost-effective manner. One promising avenue of research involves bioremediation, which is the use of living organisms, like plants and microbes, to reduce pollution. Researchers from Henan University of Science and Technology have recently made a breakthrough in this field[1]. They isolated a new bacterial strain, named LBA108, from soil in a molybdenum-lead mining area. This strain was identified as part of the Microbacterium genus, known for its diverse metabolic capabilities. When tested, the LBA108 strain demonstrated remarkable efficiency in reducing Cr(VI) levels. After 48 hours in a culture medium containing Cr(VI), the strain achieved a reduction rate of 96.64% and an adsorption rate of 15.86%. These processes involve the bacteria converting Cr(VI) into a less toxic form and binding it to their cells, thereby removing it from the environment. The mechanisms behind this removal were further analyzed using sophisticated techniques like Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction analysis. These methods allow scientists to observe the interactions between the bacteria and the chromium on a molecular level. Building on previous studies[2][3], which identified different Bacillus cereus strains capable of tolerating and reducing various heavy metals, including Cr(VI), the LBA108 strain expands the potential for microbial bioremediation. It also contributes to the understanding of how these bacteria can be used to support plant growth in contaminated environments. To test the practical applications of their findings, the researchers conducted a hydroponic experiment with radish seedlings, which served as a model for crops grown in Cr-contaminated soils. They found that inoculating the soil with the LBA108 strain not only improved the growth of the radish seedlings but also changed the way the plants dealt with Cr stress. The inoculated plants had a higher fresh weight and length, and they produced more antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase and catalase. These enzymes are crucial for protecting plants from oxidative stress, which can be caused by heavy metals like Cr. Furthermore, the distribution of Cr within the plants was altered. The rhizomes accumulated more Cr when the LBA108 strain was present, while the leaves had reduced Cr levels. This suggests that the bacteria may help to limit the movement of Cr to the edible parts of the plant, potentially reducing the risk of Cr entering the food chain. These findings are significant because they indicate that Microbacterium LBA108 could be a valuable tool in the phytoremediation of Cr-contaminated sites. Phytoremediation is a process where plants are used to clean up soil, air, and water contaminated with pollutants. When combined with the right microbial partners, like LBA108, the efficiency of this process could be greatly enhanced. The study from Henan University of Science and Technology not only sheds light on the capabilities of a new microbial strain in the fight against heavy metal pollution but also illustrates the potential benefits of combining plant and microbial bioremediation strategies. The research paves the way for developing effective methods to mitigate the impact of toxic metals like Cr(VI) on the environment and human health, offering hope for cleaner and safer ecosystems.

EnvironmentBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) Inoculation of chromium-tolerant bacterium LBA108 to enhance resistance in radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and combined remediation of chromium-contaminated soil.

Published 9th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Enhancement of toxic Cr (VI), Fe, and other heavy metals phytoremediation by the synergistic combination of native Bacillus cereus strain and Vetiveria zizanioides L.

3) Isolation and characterization of a highly effective bacterium Bacillus cereus b-525k for hexavalent chromium detoxification.

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