Responses of soil bacteria to long-term and short-term cadmium stress as revealed by microbial community analysis

Yan Zhang, Xiaoli Zhang, Huiwei Zhang, Qiang He, Qixing Zhou, Zhencheng Su, Chenggang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Soil pollution by cadmium has been a long standing ecological problem in Zhangshi Irrigation Area, Shenyang, China, as a result of the 30-year practice of irrigation with wastewater containing high levels of heavy metals. To evaluate the adverse impact of cadmium contamination on soil ecosystems, the responses of soil microbiota to both long-term and short-term cadmium stress were studied by molecular microbial community profiling with denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis. Our results show that soil characteristics and nutrient conditions were likely more important than cadmium toxicity in shaping the soil bacterial community structure in the long term. In comparison, soil microbial genetic diversity was shown to be more closely correlated to cadmium levels under short-term cadmium stress, with the highest microbial genetic diversity occurring at mild cadmium stress conditions, which might be attributed to the enrichment of metal-resistant microbial populations through mechanisms of competitive selection and genetic adaptation. In contrast, severe cadmium stress likely presented a condition that fewer microbial populations could survive, thus leading to reduced microbial genetic diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Cadmium
  • Denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Microbial diversity
  • Soil microbial community


Dive into the research topics of 'Responses of soil bacteria to long-term and short-term cadmium stress as revealed by microbial community analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this