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Microbial polysaccharides, due to their unique physiochemical properties, have found application in the food industry, cosmetics, pharmacy and medicine. In the environment, microbes can use polysaccharides to alleviate the adverse effects of heavy metals in their close proximity. This adaptive property shows interesting potential for bioremediation. Herein, the effects of the exopolysaccharides (EPS) levan, produced by the bacterium Bacillus licheniformis NS032 and pullulan, produced by the fungus Aureobasidium pullulans CH-1 in the presence of copper (Cu) have been investigated for the first time on antioxidant enzyme activity, respiration and Cu bioaccumulation of Daphnia magna as well as the bioluminescence of Vibrio fischeri. Both EPS decreased toxicity of Cu in the acute test with D. magna. The activity of catalase (CAT) was significantly diminished after acute exposure to Cu in comparison to treatments with Cu and EPS, while in the prolonged acute exposure the CAT activity did not show statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05) differences between treatments with and without the EPS. According to ICP-MS results, during prolonged acute exposure of neonates, the bioaccumulation of Cu in treatments without the EPS was 52.03 μg/g of biomass (wet), while in treatments with EPS, the bioaccumulation was lower by one order of magnitude. The respiration of neonates during acute exposure to Cu with or without the EPS was monitored using the MicroOxymax respirometer, and the results show the EPS can positively effect the respiration. In the case of bacterial bioluminescence, the toxicity of Cu decreased in treatments with EPS (30 min EC) from 3.54 mg/L to 140.61 mg/L (levan) and 45.00 mg/L (pullulan). This study demonstrates protective effect of EPS against Cu toxicity on D. magna and V. fischeri, and opens the door for further investigation of potential application of levan and pullulan in bioremediation of heavy metals and mitigation of their adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Ecotoxicology and environmental safety
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