, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 399–406 | Cite as

Nickel remediation by AM-colonized sunflower

  • Keomany Ker
  • Christiane CharestEmail author
Original Paper


This greenhouse study aimed to examine the contribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization on the uptake of and tolerance to nickel (Ni) in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). We hypothesized that AM colonization increases Ni content and tolerance in sunflower grown under varying soil Ni concentrations. The combined effect of AM colonization and soil Ni input on the assimilation of nitrogen, in particular the activity of glutamine synthetase (GS), in sunflower plants was also investigated. A factorial experimental design was performed with sunflower cv. Lemon Queen, with or without the AM fungus, Glomus intraradices Schenck & Smith, and treated with 0, 100, 200, or 400 mg Ni kg−1 dry soil (DS). The AM colonization significantly enhanced plant growth and Ni content, especially at the lower soil Ni treatments. Furthermore, the AM plants exposed to the highest soil Ni level of 400 mg Ni kg−1 DS had a significantly higher shoot Ni extracted percentage than non-AM plants, suggesting that the AM symbiosis contributed to Ni uptake, then its translocation from roots to shoots. The AM colonization also significantly increased the GS activity in roots, this being likely an indicator of an enhanced Ni tolerance. These findings support the hypothesis that AM symbiosis contributes to an enhanced Ni plant uptake and tolerance and should be considered as part of phytoremediation strategies.


Arbuscular mycorrhiza Glomus intraradices Helianthus annuus Metal Phytoremediation 



This work was funded by a grant of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada to C. Charest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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