, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 181–187 | Cite as

Heavy metal tolerance by ectomycorrhizal fungi and metal amelioration by Pisolithus tinctorius

  • Paul C. F. Tam
Original Paper


Five ectomycorrhizal fungi, Pisolithus tinctorius, Thelephora terrestris, Cenococcum geophilum, Hymenogaster sp. and Scleroderma sp., which were demonstrated previously to be capable of forming ectomycorrhizas with some pine, eucalypt and fagaceous tree species were grown in vitro in liquid cultures for 3 weeks at six different concentrations of nine heavy metals, aluminium, iron, copper, zinc, nickel, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury. Measurements of mean mycelial dry weight yields indicated that the local isolates of Hymenogaster sp. and Scleroderma sp., as well as the introduced fungal species P. tinctorius, were able to withstand high concentrations of Al, Fe, Cu and Zn and might, therefore, have potential for revegetation schemes in metal-contaminated soils. The metal amelioration mechanism in the metal-tolerant fungal species P. tinctorius was observed to involve extrahyphal slime and, as demonstrated by energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, was achieved by polyphosphate linkage of Cu and Zn.

Key words

Metal tolerance Ectomycorrhizal fungi Pisolithus tinctorius Metal amelioration Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bargagli R, Baldi F (1984) Mercury and methyl mercury in higher fungi and their relation with sulphur in a Cinnabar mining area. Chemosphere 13:1059Google Scholar
  2. Bradley R, Burt AJ, Read DJ (1982) The biology of mycorrhiza in the Ericaceae. VIII. The role of mycorrhizal infection in heavy metal resistance. New Phytol 91:197–209Google Scholar
  3. Brown MT, Wilkins DA (1985) Zinc tolerance of mycorrhizal Betula. New Phytol 99:101–106Google Scholar
  4. Chan WK, Griffiths DA (1988) The mycorrhizae of Pinus elliottii Engel, and P. massoniana Lamb. in Hong Kong. Mem Hong Kong Nat Hist Soc 18:11–17Google Scholar
  5. Chan WK, Griffiths DA (1991) The induction of mycorrhizas in Eucalyptus microcorys and E. torelliana grown in Hong Kong. For Ecol Manag 43:15–24Google Scholar
  6. Denny HJ, Wilkins DA (1987a) Zinc tolerance in Betula spp. II. Microanalytical studies of zinc uptake into root tissues. New Phytol 106:525–534Google Scholar
  7. Denny HJ, Wilkins DA (1987b) Zinc tolerance in Betula spp. IV. The mechanism of ectomycorrhizal amelioration of zinc toxicity. New Phytol 106:545–553Google Scholar
  8. Gadd GM, Griffiths AJ (1978) Microorganisms and heavy metal toxicity. Microb Ecol 14:303–317Google Scholar
  9. Kunst L, Roomans GM (1985) Intracellular localization of heavy metals in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae by X-ray microanalysis. Scanning Electron Microsc 1:191–199Google Scholar
  10. Kuusi T, Laaksovirta K, Liukkonen-Lilja H, Lodenius M, Piepponen S (1981) Lead, cadmium, mercury contents of fungi in the Helsinki area, Finland and in unpolluted control areas. Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 173:261Google Scholar
  11. Laaksovirta K, Alakuijala P (1978) Lead, cadmium and zinc contents of fungi in the parks of Helsinki. Bot Fenn 15:253Google Scholar
  12. Marx DH (1969) The influence of ectotrophic mycorrhizal fungi on the resistance of pine roots to pathogenic infections. I. Antagonism of mycorrhizal fungi and soil bacteria. Phytopathology 59:153–163Google Scholar
  13. Marx DH, Artman JD (1979) Pisolithus tinctorius ectomycorrhizae improve survival and growth of pine seedlings on acid coal spoils in Kentucky and Virginia. Reclam Rev 2:23–31Google Scholar
  14. Morselt AFW, Smiths WTM, Limonard T (1986) Histochemical demonstration of heavy metal tolerance in ectomycorrhizal fungi. Plant Soil 96:417–420Google Scholar
  15. Orlovich DA, Ashford AE, Cox GC (1989) A reassessment of polyphosphate granule composition in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius. Aust J Plant Physiol 16:107–115Google Scholar
  16. Ritchie IM, Thingvold DA (1985) Assessment of atmospheric impacts of large-scale copper-nickel development in northern Minnesota. Water Air Soil Pollut 25:145–160Google Scholar
  17. Roomans GM (1980) Localization of divalent cations in phosphate-rich cytoplasmic granules in yeast. Physiol Plant 48:47–50Google Scholar
  18. Seaward MRD, Richardson DHS (1990) Atmospheric sources of metal pollution and effects on vegetation. In: Shaw AJ (ed) Heavy metal tolerance in plants: evolutionary aspects. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, pp 75–92Google Scholar
  19. Tam PCF, Griffiths DA (1993a) Mycorrhizal associations in Hong Kong Fagaceae. I. Techniques for rapid detection and observation of ectomycorrhizas in local genera. Mycorrhiza 2:111–115Google Scholar
  20. Tam PCF, Griffiths DA (1993b) Mycorrhizal associations in Hong Kong Fagaceae. IV. The mobilization of organic and poorly soluble phosphates by the ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius. Mycorrhiza 2:133–139Google Scholar
  21. Vare H (1990) Aluminium polyphosphate in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus variegatus (Fr.) O. Kunze as revealed by energy dispersive spectrometry. New Phytol 116:663–668Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul C. F. Tam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyThe University of Hong KongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations