The bacterial community structure and functional profile in the heavy metal contaminated paddy soils, surrounding a nonferrous smelter in South Korea

Sherlyn C. Tipayno, Jaak Truu, Sandipan Samaddar, Marika Truu, Jens Konrad Preem, Kristjan Oopkaup, Mikk Espenberg, Poulami Chatterjee, Yeongyeong Kang, Kiyoon Kim, Tongmin Sa* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The pollution of agricultural soils by the heavy metals affects the productivity of the land and has an impact on the quality of the surrounding ecosystems. This study investigated the bacterial community structure in the heavy metal contaminated sites along a smelter and a distantly located paddy field to elucidate the factors that are related to the alterations of the bacterial communities under the conditions of heavy metal pollution. Among the study sites, the bacterial communities in the soil did not show any significant differences in their richness and diversity. The soil bacterial communities at the three study sites were distinct from one another at each site, possessing a distinct set of bacterial phylotypes. Among the study sites, significant changes were observed in the abundances of the bacterial phyla and genera. The variations in the bacterial community structure were mostly related to the general soil properties at the phylum level, while at the finer taxonomic levels, the concentrations of arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) were the significant factors, affecting the community structure. The relative abundances of the genera Desulfatibacillum and Desulfovirga were negatively correlated to the concentrations of As, Pb, and cadmium (Cd) in the soil, while the genus Bacillus was positively correlated to the concentrations of As and Cd. According to the results of the prediction of bacterial community functions, the soil bacterial communities of the heavy metal polluted sites were characterized by the more abundant enzymes involved in DNA replication and repair, translation, transcription, and the nucleotide metabolism pathways, while the amino acid and lipid metabolism, as well as the biodegradation potential of xenobiotics, were reduced. Our results showed that the adaptation of the bacterial communities to the heavy metal contamination was predominantly attributed to the replacement process, while the changes in community richness were linked to the variations in the soil pH values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6157-6168
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2015R1A2A1A05001885), South Korea for providing funding support toward the completion of this study. This study was supported partially by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (Grant IUT2–16), and by the European Regional Development Fund through the Centre of Excellence EcolChange. We thank Saale Truu for the assistance in computer graphics.

Funding Information:
National Research Foundation of Korea, Grant/Award Number: 2015R1A2A1A05001885; Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Grant/ Award Number: IUT2–16; European Region Development Fund

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Data Availability Statement

Additional supporting information may be found online in the Supporting Information section at the end of the article.


  • bacterial community
  • functional profiles
  • heavy metal contamination
  • pyro-sequencing


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