Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 3593–3607 | Cite as

Role of Rhizophagus irregularis in alleviating cadmium toxicity via improving the growth, micro- and macroelements uptake in Phragmites australis

  • Li Wang
  • Xiaochen Huang
  • Fang MaEmail author
  • Shih-Hsin HoEmail author
  • Jieting Wu
  • Shishu Zhu
Research Article


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have been used to alleviate heavy metal stress on plant growth and uptake of micro- and macroelements. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to verify the effects of AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis on the growth, physiological characteristics, total Cd, and element uptake of Phragmites australis under different Cd stress (in the range of 0–20 mg L−1). The results showed that the symbiosis could effectively alleviate Cd toxicity with greater root biomass, higher photosynthesis rate, and lower levels of malonaldehyde (MDA) and proline than non-mycorrhizal plants could. However, reduced transpiration rate (Tr) and stomatal conductance (g s) indicated R. irregularis protected host plants from Cd stress (≥5 mg L−1) via the stomatal closure. Although micro- and macroelements displayed differently in the presence of Cd, higher concentrations were still detected in mycorrhizal plants in contrast to non-mycorrhizal plants. Moreover, step multiple regression significantly demonstrated Pnmax, stem diameter (Sd), and g s were the important factors with regard to total Cd uptake in the symbiosis, but Mn affected to non-mycorrhizal plants. These results suggested R. irregularis could alleviate the competition between Mn and Cd by altering plant physiology. This work clearly demonstrated that R. irregularis can be able to support P. australis growth better even though under high Cd stress (>1 mg L−1), suggesting its good potential for practical use in high Cd-contaminated areas.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Cd stress Photosynthesis Micro- and macroelements uptake 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2012ZX07201003) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570505). This study was also supported by the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (2014TS05).

Supplementary material

11356_2016_7984_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, School of Municipal and Environmental EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Environmental ScienceLiaoning UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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