Isolation of purple nonsulfur bacteria for the removal of heavy metals and sodium from contaminated shrimp ponds
In order to determine whether waters used for the shrimp cultivation contained toxic levels of heavy metals (HMs) and sodium (Na), analysis was carried out on 31 shrimp ponds in areas of southern Thailand. Purple nonsulfur bacteria (PNB) were also isolated from the same ponds to investigate if they could be used for bioremediation of the above contaminants. The highest HMs concentrations of the sediment samples in mg/kg dry weight were found as follows: 0.75 cadmium (Cd), 62.63 lead (Pb), 34.60 copper (Cu) and 58.50 zinc (Zn). However, all sediment samples met Hong Kong standards for dredged sediment. In contrast, contamination of Cu (9-30 µg/L) and Zn (140-530 µg/L) exceeding the standard guidelines for marine aquatic animal set by the Pollution Control Department, Thailand, were found in 32 and 61% of water samples, respectively. Two metal resistant PNB isolates, NW16 and KMS24, were selected from the 120 PNB isolates obtained. Both isolates reduced the levels of HMs by up to 39% for Pb, 20% for Cu, 7% for Cd, 5% for Zn and 31% for Na from water that contained the highest levels of HMs found and 3% NaCl when cultured with either microaerobic-light or aerobic-dark conditions. The isolate NW16 removed a greater percentage of the HMs than the isolate KMS24, but the isolate KMS24 was able to survive better under a greater variety of environmental conditions. Both strains were therefore suitable to use for further investigating their abilities to remediate water contaminated with HMs and Na.