Responses of Microorganisms to Pollutants and its Application in Environmental Risk Assessment pp. 179-194
Authors: (Meizhen Wang, Zhenmei Lu, Hang Min, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Abstract: The ecotoxicology field is experiencing a surge attention among ecologists as we gain a deeper investigation on how pollutants can have impacts on natural ecosystems. This interest is particularly strong in microorganisms, which are widespread in nature and sensitive to environmental pollutants and also important decomposers or absorbers of contaminants. In this review, we assess how microbes respond to environmental pollutants as follows: (1) microbial biomass and community structure; (2) energy production and basic metabolism; (3) oxidative stress and antioxidant defense; (4) detoxification or degradation. Biomass, community structure, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ATPase, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyl (PC), DNA-protein crosslinking (DPC) and some key genes or proteins for pollutants detoxification and degradation are usually served as biomarkers for environmental risk assessment (ERS). In this brief review we also emphasize which biomarkers are suitable for actue or chronic ERS, which are optimal for ERS in specific or mixed pollution systems, and which are appropriate for low or high-toxicity analysis. The aspects to be further studied in microbial ecotoxicology are also suggested.