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Molecular characterization of conjugative plasmids in pesticide tolerant and multi-resistant bacterial isolates from contaminated alluvial soil

Anjum, Reshma, Grohmann, Elisabeth, Malik, Abdul
Chemosphere 2011 v.84 no.1 pp. 175-181
absorption, antibiotics, gas chromatography, gene transfer, genes, heavy metals, hybridization, metal tolerance, minimum inhibitory concentration, nucleotide sequences, pesticide industry, pesticide resistance, pesticides, plasmids, polluted soils, polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal DNA, soil bacteria, soil sampling, India
A total of 35 bacteria from contaminated soil (cultivated fields) near pesticide industry from Chinhat, Lucknow, (India) were isolated and tested for their tolerance/resistance to pesticides, heavy metals and antibiotics. Bacterial isolates were identified by 16S rDNA sequencing. Gas Chromatography analysis of the soil samples revealed the presence of lindane at a concentration of 547ngg⁻¹ and α-endosulfan and β-endosulfan of 422ngg⁻¹ and 421ngg⁻¹ respectively. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry analysis of the test sample was done and Cr, Zn, Ni, Fe, Cu and Cd were detected at concentrations of 36.2, 42.5, 43.2, 241, 13.3 and 11.20mgkg⁻¹ respectively. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of all the isolates were determined for pesticides and heavy metals. All the multi-resistant/tolerant bacterial isolates were also tested for the presence of incompatibility (Inc) group IncP, IncN, IncW, IncQ plasmids and for rolling circle plasmids of the pMV158-family by PCR. Total community DNA was extracted from pesticide contaminated soil. PCR amplification of the bacterial isolates and soil DNA revealed the presence of IncP-specific sequences (trfA2 and oriT) which was confirmed by dot blot hybridization with RP4-derived DIG-labelled probes. Plasmids belonging to IncN, IncW and IncQ group were neither detected in the bacterial isolates nor in total soil DNA. The presence of conjugative or mobilizable IncP plasmids in the isolates indicate that these bacteria have gene transfer capacity with implications for dissemination of heavy metal and antibiotic resistance genes. We propose that IncP plasmids are mainly responsible for the spread of multi-resistant bacteria in the contaminated soils.