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Title: Microbial cellulose decomposition in soils from a rifle range contaminated with heavy metals
Authors: Chew, I.
Obbard, J.P. 
Stanforth, R.R. 
Keywords: Cellulose
Cotton strip
Heavy metal-contaminated soils
Tensile strength
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: Chew, I., Obbard, J.P., Stanforth, R.R. (2001). Microbial cellulose decomposition in soils from a rifle range contaminated with heavy metals. Environmental Pollution 111 (3) : 367-375. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess the effects of heavy metals on microbial decomposition of cellulose in heavy metal-contaminated soils using a cotton strip assay. The assay is a measure of the potential of soil microorganisms to decompose the plant polymer, cellulose. Cellulolytic activity in soil was assessed by determining the reduction in tensile strength of the buried cotton strips over a 25- and 45-day period. Soils were obtained from a rifle range that contain high levels of lead, copper and zinc. The site has been used for approximately 50 years, resulting in metal levels of up to 30,000 mg/kg of lead, 4000 mg/kg of copper and 600 mg/kg of zinc in the most contaminated soils. All the metal-contaminated soils had lower degradation rates than the uncontaminated soils tested. Among the contaminated soils, however, the heavy metal concentration was not the major factor in determining the loss in tensile strength of the cotton strips, where cellulose decomposition was governed by other soil physicochemical properties. Soil with a higher cation exchange capacity, readily oxidisable material and volatile solids content had the greatest loss in tensile strength of cotton strips. Microbial adaptation to the presence of high concentrations of soil heavy metals and reduced bioavailability of metals is the likely explanation for this phenomenon. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Source Title: Environmental Pollution
ISSN: 02697491
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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