Assessment of microbial communities and heavy metals in urban soils of Patna, Bihar (India)

  • Rakhshan Ahmad
  • Himanshu Kaushik
  • Rajesh Kumar RanjanEmail author
Original Paper


This study was aimed to assess soil nutrient status, heavy metal content, and their impact on phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) as well as to determine relationship between PSB and coliform in soils of urban area of Patna town during monsoon and winter. The eight sampling areas are included for study namely Bazar Samiti (S1), Moin-ul-Haq Stadium (S2), Agamkuan (S3), Kumhrar (S4), Beur Jail (S5), Phulwari Sharif (S6), BIT Campus (S7), and Danapur (S8). Nutrients, such as carbon, phosphorus, and potassium, varied with seasons and sites. The average concentration of heavy metals for monsoon followed the order Mn > Zn > Co > Pb > Cu > Ni > Hg, while for winter the order was Mn > Zn > Pb > Co > Cu > Ni > Hg, whereas Cd was below detection limit (0.1 ppm) in all sites. To evaluate the degree of pollution in soils of Patna region contamination factor (CF), enrichment factor (EF), geo-accumulation index (Igeo), and pollution load index (PLI) were calculated. An elevated concentration of Mn and Zn was reported on most of the sites; however, PLI showed that soils have become polluted with heavy metals. In addition, enumeration of bacterial cells revealed that PSB grew efficiently in winter when pH (6 to 6.8) was low, which might be due to production of organic acids, and coliform count was moderate to low. The negative correlation between PSB and coliform in winter suggests that both the species are competitor of each other.


Geo-accumulation index Pollution load index Heavy metals Coliforms Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Environmental Science and Department of Biotechnology, Central University of South Bihar, Patna for laboratory facilities. We also thank Dr. Vijay and Dr. Das Ambika for guiding in statistical analysis and to Mr. Raj Kumar and Mr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh for help during analysis and Md, Afroz Ansari for preparing the study area map. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments that greatly contributed to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

12517_2018_4188_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rakhshan Ahmad
    • 1
  • Himanshu Kaushik
    • 1
  • Rajesh Kumar Ranjan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceCentral University of South BiharGayaIndia

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