Reduction in Hg Phytoavailability in Soil Using Hg-volatilizing Bacteria and Biochar and the Response of the Native Bacterial Community

Microb Biotechnol. 2019 Sep;12(5):1014-1023. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.13457. Epub 2019 Jun 26.


Biological approaches are considered promising and eco-friendly strategies to remediate Hg contamination in soil. This study investigated the potential of two 'green' additives, Hg-volatilizing bacteria (Pseudomonas sp. DC-B1 and Bacillus sp. DC-B2) and sawdust biochar, and their combination to reduce Hg(II) phytoavailability in soil and the effect of the additives on the soil bacterial community. The results showed that the Hg(II) contents in soils and lettuce shoots and roots were all reduced with these additives, achieving more declines of 12.3-27.4%, 24.8-57.8% and 2.0-48.6%, respectively, within 56 days of incubation compared to the control with no additive. The combination of DC-B2 and 4% biochar performed best in reducing Hg(II) contents in lettuce shoots, achieving a decrease of 57.8% compared with the control. Pyrosequencing analysis showed that the overall bacterial community compositions in the soil samples were similar under different treatments, despite the fact that the relative abundance of dominant genera altered with the additives, suggesting a relatively weak impact of the additives on the soil microbial ecosystem. The low relative abundances of Pseudomonas and Bacillus, close to the background levels, at the end of the experiment indicated a small biological disturbance of the local microbial niche by the exogenous bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Bacillus / growth & development
  • Bacillus / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Biotransformation
  • Charcoal / metabolism*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation
  • Lettuce / chemistry*
  • Lettuce / growth & development
  • Mercury / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / chemistry
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas / metabolism*
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Volatilization


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Soil Pollutants
  • biochar
  • Charcoal
  • Mercury

Associated data

  • GENBANK/MG754008
  • GENBANK/MG687381