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The Effect of Recombinant Heavy Metal-Resistant Endophytic Bacteria on Heavy Metal Uptake by Their Host Plant

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The ncc-nre nickel resistance system of Ralstonia metallidurans 31A was efficiently expressed in Burkholderia cepacia L.S.2.4 and Herbaspirillum seropedicae LMG2284. The heterologous expression of ncc-nre encoded nickel resistance was accompanied by nickel removal from the culture medium. B. cepacia L.S.2.4:: ncc-nre and H. seropedicae LMG2284:: ncc-nre were able to remove 35 and 15% nickel, respectively. The capacity to remove nickel through sequestration or bio-precipitation processes and consequently lowering the free nickel concentration could offer interesting benefits for these endophytic bacteria and their host plants. Once inoculated in their host plant, they could possibly alter the nickel speciation and therefore decrease the free ions and thus toxic concentration for the plant metabolism. Lupinus luteus L, when grown on a nickel enriched substrate and inoculated with B. cepacia L.S.2.4:: ncc-nre , showed a significant increase (30%) of nickel concentration in the roots, whereas the nickel concentration in the shoots remained comparable with that of the control plants. The inoculation of Lolium perenne (cv Atlas) with the nickel resistance derivative of H. seropedicae LMG2284:: ncc-nre resulted in a significant decrease of the nickel concentration in the roots (11%) as well as in the shoots (14%). As this phenomenon was also observed in the Lolium perenne plants inoculated with the wild-type strain LMG2284, the nickel resistance characteristics probably are not responsible for the altered nickel uptake observed.
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Keywords: Burkholderia cepacia; Herbaspirillum seropedicae; Lolium perenne; Lupinus luteus; heterologous expression; phytoextraction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department SBG, Environmental Biology, Limburgs Universitair Centrum, Universitaire Campus, B-3590, Diepenbeek, Belgium 2: Vito, Environmental Technology, Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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