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Improved arsenic phytoextraction by combined use of mobilizing chemicals and autochthonous soil bacteria

Franchi, Elisabetta, Cosmina, Paola, Pedron, Francesca, Rosellini, Irene, Barbafieri, Meri, Petruzzelli, Gianniantonio, Vocciante, Marco
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.655 pp. 328-336
Brassica juncea, Helianthus annuus, Zea mays, additives, ammonium, arsenic, bioavailability, crops, dipotassium hydrogen phosphate, indigenous species, industrial sites, mercury, phytoaccumulation, phytotoxicity, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, soil quality
Proper plant selection and application of suitable strategies are key factors to ensure the effectiveness of a reclamation via phytoremediation approach. In this study, micro- and meso-cosm scale experimentation has been realized to address a persistent contamination by arsenic on a disused industrial site through an assisted phytoremediation intervention. Three crop species, namely Brassica juncea, Helianthus annuus and Zea mays, have been considered and the addition of K2HPO4, a common mobilizing agent for As, or (NH4)S2O3, a promising additive for As mobilization in case of mercury co-presence, evaluated. The use of these additives significantly enhanced the bioavailability of the target contaminant and therefore its phytoextraction up to 80%. Furthermore, in order to maximize the extraction efficiency of the plants, the influence of five indigenous Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria (PGPB), in combination with the mobilizing agents, was measured. The addition of the microbial consortium led to a further increase in the total uptake of arsenic, especially in B. juncea (up to 140%). The combined strategy supports and enhances the arsenic phytoextraction together with an improvement of the soil quality, as shown by phytotoxicity tests.