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Interactions between plant and rhizosphere microbial communities in a metalliferous soil

Epelde, Lur, Becerril, José M., Barrutia, Oihana, González-Oreja, José A., Garbisu, Carlos
Environmental pollution 2010 v.158 no.5 pp. 1576-1583
Festuca rubra, Noccaea caerulescens, Rumex acetosa, biomass, cadmium, ecosystems, lead, metal tolerance, microbial communities, physiological response, phytoremediation, polluted soils, pollution, rhizosphere, zinc
In the present work, the relationships between plant consortia, consisting of 1-4 metallicolous pseudometallophytes with different metal-tolerance strategies (Thlaspi caerulescens: hyperaccumulator; Jasione montana: accumulator; Rumex acetosa: indicator; Festuca rubra: excluder), and their rhizosphere microbial communities were studied in a mine soil polluted with high levels of Cd, Pb and Zn. Physiological response and phytoremediation potential of the studied pseudometallophytes were also investigated. The studied metallicolous populations are tolerant to metal pollution and offer potential for the development of phytoextraction and phytostabilization technologies. T. caerulescens appears very tolerant to metal stress and most suitable for metal phytoextraction; the other three species enhance soil functionality. Soil microbial properties had a stronger effect on plant biomass rather than the other way around (35.2% versus 14.9%). An ecological understanding of how contaminants, ecosystem functions and biological communities interact in the long-term is needed for proper management of these fragile metalliferous ecosystems.