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Identification and characterization of plant growth–promoting endophyte RE02 from Trifolium repens L. in mining smelter


Endophyte-assisted phytoremediation is considered to be an effective approach for bioremediation of heavy metal–contaminated soil; however, few information is available on Trifolium repens L. and its endophytes to remediate heavy metal–polluted soils. In this study, heavy metal–resistant endophytes were isolated from T. repens growing in mining smelter and identified by BIOLOG system. The isolate was also evaluated for promoting plant growth in heavy metal–contaminated soils in pot experiments. A total of eight Cd2+-resistant endophytes were isolated and these isolates preferred to grow on l-aspartic acid and α-d-glucose. All the isolates had at least two plant growth–promoting properties including siderophore production, phosphate solubilization activity, indole acetic acid (IAA) production, and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase activity. Strain RE02, identified as Pseudomonas putida by Biolog system, showed the highest Cd tolerance and could reduce Cd concentration from 20 to 1.84 mg L−1 in about 49 h in liquid medium, amounting to about 90.8%. Among the five endophytes which have positive effect on the growth of T. repens, RE02, whose IAA production ability was 7.06 mg L−1 and phosphate solubilization was 134.76 mg L−1, could improve T. repens root and shoot biomass by 25.9% and 37.7% in cadmium-contained soil, respectively. Our research may provide a new microbial-enhanced phytoremediation of heavy metal–polluted soils and improve the remediation efficiency.

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This work was financially supported by the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2015ZX07205-003).

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Correspondence to Hai Lin.

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Liu, C., Lin, H., Dong, Y. et al. Identification and characterization of plant growth–promoting endophyte RE02 from Trifolium repens L. in mining smelter. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 17236–17247 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04904-w

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  • Cadmium contamination
  • Endophyte
  • T. repens
  • Endophyte-assisted phytoremediation
  • Plant growth–promoting
  • Cadmium absorption