Front Microbiol. 2022 Dec 6;13:1032901. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1032901. eCollection 2022.
SAICEUPSMT strain was isolated from soils in the mining district of Almadén (Ciudad Real, Spain), subjected to a high concentration of mercury. Using the plant model of lupinus, the strain was inoculated into the rhizosphere of the plant in a soil characterized by a high concentration of mercury (1,710 ppm) from an abandoned dump in the mining district of Almadén (Ciudad Real, Spain). As a control, a soil with a minimum natural concentration of mercury, from a surrounding area, was used. Under greenhouse conditions, the effect that the inoculum of the SAICEUPSMT strain had on the antioxidant capacity of the plant was studied, through the quantification of the enzymatic activity catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione reductase (GR). Likewise, the capacity of the plant to bioaccumulate mercury in the presence of the inoculum was studied, as well as the effect on the biometric parameters total weight (g), shoot weight (g), root weight (g), shoot length (cm), root length (cm), total number of leaves (N), and total number of secondary roots (No). Finally, in view of the results, the SAICEUPSMT strain was identified from the phenotypic and genotypic point of view (housekeeping genes and complete genome sequencing). The inoculum with the SAICEUPSMT strain in the presence of mercury produced a significant reduction in the enzymatic response to oxidative stress (CAT, APX, and SOD). It can be considered that the strain exerts a phytoprotective effect on the plant. This led to a significant increase in the biometric parameters total plant weight, root weight and the number of leaves under mercury stress, compared to the control without abiotic stress. When analyzing the mercury content of the plant with and without bacterial inoculum, it was found that the incorporation of the SAICEUPSMT strain significantly reduced the uptake of mercury by the plant, while favoring its development in terms of biomass. Given the positive impact of the SAICEUPSMT strain on the integral development of the plant, it was identified, proving to be a Gram negative bacillus, in vitro producer of siderophores, auxins and molecules that inhibit stress precursors. The most represented fatty acids were C16:0 (33.29%), characteristic aggregate 3 (22.80%) comprising C16:1 ω7c and C16: 1ω6c, characteristic aggregate 8 (13.66%) comprising C18:1 ω7c, and C18: 1 cycle ω6c and C 17:0 (11.42%). From the genotypic point of view, the initial identification of the strain based on the 16S rRNA gene sequence classified it as Pseudomonas iranensis. However, genome-wide analysis showed that average nucleotide identity (ANI, 95.47%), DNA-DNA in silico hybridization (dDDH, 61.9%), average amino acid identity (AAI, 97.13%), TETRA (0.99%) and intergenic distance (0.04) values were below the established thresholds for differentiation. The results of the genomic analysis together with the differences in the phenotypic characteristics and the phylogenetic and chemotaxonomic analysis support the proposal of the SAICEUPSMT strain as the type strain of a new species for which the name Pseudomonas mercuritolerans sp. is proposed. No virulence genes or transmissible resistance mechanisms have been identified, which reveals its safety for agronomic uses, under mercury stress conditions.