Journal of
Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology

  • Abbreviation: J. Environ. Chem. Ecotoxicol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-226X
  • DOI: 10.5897/JECE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 197

Full Length Research Paper

Inhibition of β-galactosidase and α-glucosidase synthesis in petroleum refinery effluent bacteria by zinc and cadmium

  C. O. Nweke1* and G. C. Okpokwasili2
  1Department of Microbiology, Federal University of Technology, P. M. B. 1526, Owerri, Nigeria. 2Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt, P. M. B. 5323, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 February 2011
  •  Published: 31 March 2011



Inhibition of α-glucosidase (EC and β-galactosidase (EC biosynthesis by zinc and cadmium in Escherichia coli, Bacillus and Pseudomonas species isolated from petroleum refinery wastewater was assessed. At sufficient concentrations, exposure of the cells to zinc and cadmium resulted in repression of α-glucosidase and β-galactosidase induction. The extent of inhibition varied among the test bacteria, metal and enzyme. Bacillus with IC50 of 0.125 ± 0.004 and 0.120 ± 0.007 mM is most sensitive to cadmium inhibition of α-glucosidase and β-galactosidase respectively. Biosynthesis of β-galactosidase in Bacillus species is most sensitive to toxicity of zinc. The patterns of these toxic effects can be mathematically described with logistic or sigmoid dose-response models. The coefficients of inhibition Ki correlated with the IC50 and indicate that inhibition coefficient can be used in addition to the EC50 values as a measure of toxicity. The information could have a bearing on the development of bacterial models for acute toxicity assays.


Key words: Zinc, cadmium, α-glucosidase, β-galactosidase, toxicity, inhibition coefficient.