Long-term Hg pollution-induced structural shifts of bacterial community in the terrestrial isopod (Porcellio scaber) gut
In previous studies we detected lower species richness and lower Hg sensitivity of the bacteria present in egested guts of Porcellio scaber (Crustacea, Isopoda) from chronically Hg polluted than from unpolluted environment. Basis for such results were further investigated by sequencing of 16S rRNA genes of mercury-resistant (Hgr) isolates and clone libraries. We observed up to 385 times higher numbers of Hgr bacteria in guts of animals from polluted than from unpolluted environment. The majority of Hgr strains contained merA genes. Sequencing of 16S rRNA clones from egested guts of animals from Hg-polluted environments showed elevated number of bacteria from Pseudomonas, Listeria and Bacteroidetes relatives groups. In animals from pristine environment number of bacteria from Achromobacter relatives, Alcaligenes, Paracoccus, Ochrobactrum relatives, Rhizobium/Agrobacterium, Bacillus and Microbacterium groups were elevated. Such bacterial community shifts in guts of animals from Hg-polluted environment could significantly contribute to P. scaber Hg tolerance.