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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 6859–6876 | Cite as

Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on Agrostis capillaris grown on amended mine tailing substrate at pot, lysimeter, and field plot scales

  • Aurora NeagoeEmail author
  • Paula Stancu
  • Andrei Nicoară
  • Marilena Onete
  • Florian Bodescu
  • Roxana Gheorghe
  • Virgil Iordache
Using microbes for the regulation of heavy metal mobility at ecosystem and landscape scale

Abstract

Applied research programs in the remediation of contaminated areas can be used also for gaining insights in the physiological and ecological mechanisms supporting the resistance of plant communities in stress conditions due to toxic elements. The research hypothesis of this study was that in the heavily contaminated but nutrient-poor substrate of mine tailing dams, the beneficial effect of inoculation with arbuscular mychorrizal fungi (AMF) is due to an improvement of phosphorus nutrition rather than to a reduction of toxic element transfer to plants. A concept model assuming a causal chain from root colonization to element uptake, oxidative stress variables, and overall plant development was used. The methodological novelty lies in coupling in a single research program experiments conducted at three scales: pot, lysimeter, and field plot, with different ages of plants at the sampling moment (six subsets of samples in all). The inoculation with AMF in expanded clay carrier had a beneficial effect on the development of plants in the amended tailing substrate heavily contaminated with toxic elements. The effect of inoculation was stronger when the quantity of expanded carrier was smaller (1 % vs. 7 % inoculum), probably because of changes in substrate features. The improvement of plant growth was due mainly to an improvement in phosphorus nutrition leading to an increase of protein concentration and decrease of oxidative stress enzyme activity (superoxide dismutase and peroxidase). In a single data subset, an effect of inoculation on the uptake of several toxic elements could be proved (decrease of As concentration in plant roots correlated with a decrease of oxidative stress independent from the effect of P concentration increase). The multi-scale approach allowed us to find differences between the patterns characterising the data subsets. These subset-specific patterns point out the existence of physiological differences between plants in different development states (as a result of sampling at different plant ages). From an applied perspective, conclusions are drawn with respect to the use of plants in the monitoring programs of contaminated areas and the use of inoculation with AMF in the remediation of tailing dams.

Keywords

Agrostis capillaris Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Phosphorus Heavy metals Oxidative stress Multiple scales Mine tailings Remediation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was performed within the FP7 project UMBRELLA, grant agreement 226870/2009, and Partnership PN2 projects: 31-012/2007 FITORISC and 50/2012 ASPABIR funded by Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, Romania. The authors acknowledge Roxana Donciu, who was a technician in our lab. They also thank Prof. Dr. Katarzyna Turnau for the analysis of the mine tailing substrate with respect to mycorrhizal fungi content. They specially thank the anonymous reviewers for the constructive criticism that greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11356_2013_1908_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1676 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora Neagoe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paula Stancu
    • 1
  • Andrei Nicoară
    • 1
  • Marilena Onete
    • 2
  • Florian Bodescu
    • 1
  • Roxana Gheorghe
    • 1
  • Virgil Iordache
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Ecological Services (CESEC), Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Bucharest Institute of BiologyRomanian AcademyBucharestRomania

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