On a global basis, trace-metal pollution is one of the most pervasive environmental problems. It is particularly difficult to prevent or clean up because the metals are toxic in their elemental form and cannot be decomposed. Bioremediation has been shown to be a powerful system for heavy metal pollution clean up and prevention. In this work, we characterized the cadmium (Cd)-resistant bacteria isolated from rice field soil downstream from zinc (Zn) mineralized area which the owners were contaminated at high level of cadmium content in their blood (>10 μgCd/g creatinine). We found that all 24 isolated bacteria tolerated toxic Cd concentrations (2,500 μM). In order to determine whether the Cd toxicity affected the growth of isolated bacteria, we grew the isolated bacterial cells in the absence and presence of toxic concentrations of CdCl2 (500 μM). In the absence of Cd, all isolated bacterial cells grew slightly better than in the presence of toxic concentrations of Cd. In addition, the Cd binding capacity of all isolated bacteria were very high, ranging from 6.38 to 9.38 log[Cd(atom)]/cell when grown in the presence of 500 μM CdCl2. Furthermore, the stability of Cd-bacteria complex of all isolated bacteria was affected by 1mM EDTA. When grown in the presence of 500 μM CdCl2, Cd-resistant isolates S2500-6, -8, -9, -15, -17, -18, -19, and -22 increasingly produced proteins containing cysteine (SH-group) (from 1.3 to 2.2 times) as well as 11 isolates of Cd-resistant bacteria, including S2500-1, -2, -3, -5, -6, -8, -9, -11, -16, -20, and -21, increasingly produced inorganic sulfide (1.5 to 4.7 times). Furthermore, the Sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy studies indicated that Cd-resistant isolated S2500-3 precipitated amounts of cadmium sulfide (CdS), when grown in the presence of 500 μM CdCl2. The results suggested that these Cd-resistant bacteria have potential ability to precipitate a toxic soluble CdCl2 as nontoxic insoluble CdS. Interestingly, Cd-resistant bacteria isolated S2500-3, -8, -9,and -20 increased cadmium tolerance of Thai jasmine rice (Kao Hom Mali 105) when grown in the presence of 200 μM CdCl2. These 4 isolates also decreased cadmium concentration accumulation in Kao Hom Mali 105 plant at 61, 9, 6, and 17%, respectively when grown in the presence of 200 μM CdCl2. They were identified by 16S rDNA sequence analysis and classified as Cupriavidus taiwanensis (isolate S2500-3) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (isolates S2500-8, -9, and -20).

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