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Ecological Effects of Combined Pollution Associated with E-Waste Recycling on the Composition and Diversity of Soil Microbial Communities

Liu, Jun, He, Xiao-xin, Lin, Xue-rui, Chen, Wen-ce, Zhou, Qi-xing, Shu, Wen-sheng, Huang, Li-nan
Environmental Science & Technology 2015 v.49 no.11 pp. 6438-6447
Acidobacteria, Acinetobacter, Alcanivorax, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Pseudomonas, bacteria, copper, correspondence analysis, electronic wastes, environmental factors, heavy metals, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, microbial communities, phylogeny, pollutants, polluted soils, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, recycling, remediation, ribosomal RNA, soil biota, soil microorganisms, water content, China
The crude processing of electronic waste (e-waste) has led to serious contamination in soils. While microorganisms may play a key role in remediation of the contaminated soils, the ecological effects of combined pollution (heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers) on the composition and diversity of microbial communities remain unknown. In this study, a suite of e-waste contaminated soils were collected from Guiyu, China, and the indigenous microbial assemblages were profiled by 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing and clone library analysis. Our data revealed significant differences in microbial taxonomic composition between the contaminated and the reference soils, with Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes dominating the e-waste-affected communities. Genera previously identified as organic pollutants-degrading bacteria, such as Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Alcanivorax, were frequently detected. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that approximately 70% of the observed variation in microbial assemblages in the contaminated soils was explained by eight environmental variables (including soil physiochemical parameters and organic pollutants) together, among which moisture content, decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209), and copper were the major factors. These results provide the first detailed phylogenetic look at the microbial communities in e-waste contaminated soils, demonstrating that the complex combined pollution resulting from improper e-waste recycling may significantly alter soil microbiota.