Naturally occurring bacteria play an important role in bioremediation of heavy metal pollutants in soil and wastewater. This study identified high levels of resistance to zinc, cesium, lead, arsenate and mercury in eight copper resistant Pseudomonas strains previously isolated from Torch Lake sediment. These strains showed variable susceptibility to different antibiotics. Furthermore, these metal resistant strains were capable of bioaccumulation of multiple metals and solubilization of copper. Bacterial strains TLC 3-3.5-1 and TLC 6-6.5-1 showed high bioaccumulation ability of Zn (up to 15.9. mg/g dry cell) and Pb (80.7. mg/g dry cell), respectively. All the strains produced plant growth promoting indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), iron chelating siderophore and solubilized mineral phosphate and metals. The effect of bacterial inoculation on plant growth and copper uptake by maize (Zea mays) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) was investigated using one of the isolates (Pseudomonas sp. TLC 6-6.5-4) with higher IAA production and phosphate and metal soubilization, which resulted in a significant increase in copper accumulation in maize and sunflower, and an increase in the total biomass of maize. The multiple metal-resistant bacterial isolates characterized in our study have potential applications for remediation of metal contaminated soils in combination with plants and metal contaminated water. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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