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Changes in sediment microbial diversity following chronic copper-exposure induce community copper-tolerance without increasing sensitivity to arsenic

Mahamoud Ahmed, Ayanleh, Tardy, Vincent, Bonnineau, Chloé, Billard, Patrick, Pesce, Stéphane, Lyautey, Emilie
Journal of hazardous materials 2020 v.391 pp. 122197
Archaea, arsenic, biochemical pathways, copper, environmental assessment, microbial communities, risk assessment, sediments, toxicity, toxicity testing
Sediment microbial communities were exposed for 21 days to an environmental concentration of copper to assess Cu-induced composition changes and resulting effects on microbial sensitivity to acute Cu and As toxicity. Chronic Cu exposure reduced the diversity of the bacterial and archaeal communities from Day 0 to Day 21. The pollution-induced community tolerance concept (PICT) predicts that loss of the most sensitive taxa and gain of more tolerant ones should increase the capacity of Cu-exposed communities to tolerate acute Cu toxicity. Although diversity loss and functional costs of adaptation could have increased their sensitivity to subsequent toxic stress, no increased sensitivity to As was observed. PICT responses varied according to heterotrophic activity, selected as the functional endpoint for toxicity testing, with different results for Cu and As. This suggests that induced tolerance to Cu and As was supported by different species with different metabolic capacities. Ecological risk assessment of contaminants would gain accuracy from further research on the relative contribution of tolerance acquisition and co-tolerance processes on the functional response of microbial communities.