Isolation and characterization of four gram-positive nickel-tolerant microorganisms from contaminated sediments. Academic Article uri icon


  • Microbial communities from riparian sediments contaminated with high levels of Ni and U were examined for metal-tolerant microorganisms. Isolation of four aerobic Ni-tolerant, Gram-positive heterotrophic bacteria indicated selection pressure from Ni. These isolates were identified as Arthrobacter oxydans NR-1, Streptomyces galbus NR-2, Streptomyces aureofaciens NR-3, and Kitasatospora cystarginea NR-4 based on partial 16S rDNA sequences. A functional gene microarray containing gene probes for functions associated with biogeochemical cycling, metal homeostasis, and organic contaminant degradation showed little overlap among the four isolates. Fifteen of the genes were detected in all four isolates with only two of these related to metal resistance, specifically to tellurium. Each of the four isolates also displayed resistance to at least one of six antibiotics tested, with resistance to kanamycin, gentamycin, and ciprofloxacin observed in at least two of the isolates. Further characterization of S. aureofaciens NR-3 and K. cystarginea NR-4 demonstrated that both isolates expressed Ni tolerance constitutively. In addition, both were able to grow in higher concentrations of Ni at pH 6 as compared with pH 7 (42.6 and 8.5 mM Ni at pH 6 and 7, respectively). Tolerance to Cd, Co, and Zn was also examined in these two isolates; a similar pH-dependent metal tolerance was observed when grown with Co and Zn. Neither isolate was tolerant to Cd. These findings suggest that Ni is exerting a selection pressure at this site for metal-resistant actinomycetes.

published proceedings

  • Microb Ecol

author list (cited authors)

  • Van Nostrand, J. D., Khijniak, T. V., Gentry, T. J., Novak, M. T., Sowder, A. G., Zhou, J. Z., Bertsch, P. M., & Morris, P. J.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Van Nostrand, Joy D||Khijniak, Tatiana V||Gentry, Terry J||Novak, Michelle T||Sowder, Andrew G||Zhou, Jizhong Z||Bertsch, Paul M||Morris, Pamela J

publication date

  • January 2007