Abstract The effects of copper on sulfidogenic activity in freshwater sediments have been examined. Sulfate-reducing consortia were enriched from metal-free and metal-contaminated sediments. Copper ion was added at three different concentrations. At 0.8 ppm Cu2+, no inhibitory effects were observed on sulfate reduction in either consortia; Cu2+ was quickly precipitated from the media. At 8 ppm CU2+, activity in the metal-free consortium was significantly inhibited, as illustrated by an extended lag and slower rate of sulfate reduction; sulfidogenesis in the metal-contaminated consortium was unaffected. When Cu2+ concentration was increased to 30 ppm, the sulfate reducing activity in the metal-free consortium was completely inhibited. The rate of sulfate reduction was also decreased in metal-contaminated enrichments but recovered after a lag. The results suggest that the increase in metal tolerance of the sulfate reducing consortia may be attributed to the pre-exposure of the microbial population to metals.
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