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.
© 2019 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.