Project Title

The Effects of Lead (Pb) Contamination on the Structure and Diversity of Soil Bacterial Communities

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Thomas McElroy

Additional Faculty

Jake Smith, Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology, jsmit750@students.kennesaw.edu

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Heavy metals can be toxic, difficult to break down, and have adverse effects on bacterial biodiversity, and community structure. Soil lead (Pb) contamination is a recognized global health problem. Lead (Pb) contamination in soils is mainly due to anthropogenic sources. Heavy metals like lead can stress bacterial communities. In this study, we collected soil samples with different levels of lead (Pb); 20 ppm (Decatur, GA), 90 ppm (KSU Field Station), and 5800 ppm (Cedartown, GA). Bacterial community genomic DNA samples from each location were examined by metagenomic 16S sequencing and analyzed at the phylum and class taxonomic levels. At high Pb concentration, we predicted that there would be (1) less soil bacteria diversity, (2) a relationship between lead concentration and relative abundance of Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria, (common soil bacterial groups shown to respond to heavy metal toxicity) and (3) a significant difference in bacterial community structure when compared to lower Pb concentrations. Our data indicated an increase in soil bacterial diversity associated with high Pb levels. The data also showed shifts in relative abundance of common soil bacterial groups and significant differences in bacterial community structure among the sampled sites.

Key Words: Soil Lead, Bacteria, DNA, Diversity, Community Structure

Disciplines

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Population Biology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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The Effects of Lead (Pb) Contamination on the Structure and Diversity of Soil Bacterial Communities

Heavy metals can be toxic, difficult to break down, and have adverse effects on bacterial biodiversity, and community structure. Soil lead (Pb) contamination is a recognized global health problem. Lead (Pb) contamination in soils is mainly due to anthropogenic sources. Heavy metals like lead can stress bacterial communities. In this study, we collected soil samples with different levels of lead (Pb); 20 ppm (Decatur, GA), 90 ppm (KSU Field Station), and 5800 ppm (Cedartown, GA). Bacterial community genomic DNA samples from each location were examined by metagenomic 16S sequencing and analyzed at the phylum and class taxonomic levels. At high Pb concentration, we predicted that there would be (1) less soil bacteria diversity, (2) a relationship between lead concentration and relative abundance of Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria, (common soil bacterial groups shown to respond to heavy metal toxicity) and (3) a significant difference in bacterial community structure when compared to lower Pb concentrations. Our data indicated an increase in soil bacterial diversity associated with high Pb levels. The data also showed shifts in relative abundance of common soil bacterial groups and significant differences in bacterial community structure among the sampled sites.

Key Words: Soil Lead, Bacteria, DNA, Diversity, Community Structure

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