, Volume 223, Issue 6, pp 1115–1122 | Cite as

Contribution of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis to heavy metal phytoremediation

  • Vera Göhre
  • Uta PaszkowskiEmail author


High concentrations of heavy metals (HM) in the soil have detrimental effects on ecosystems and are a risk to human health as they can enter the food chain via agricultural products or contaminated drinking water. Phytoremediation, a sustainable and inexpensive technology based on the removal of pollutants from the environment by plants, is becoming an increasingly important objective in plant research. However, as phytoremediation is a slow process, improvement of efficiency and thus increased stabilization or removal of HMs from soils is an important goal. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi provide an attractive system to advance plant-based environmental clean-up. During symbiotic interaction the hyphal network functionally extends the root system of their hosts. Thus, plants in symbiosis with AM fungi have the potential to take up HM from an enlarged soil volume. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about the contribution of the AM symbiosis to phytoremediation of heavy metals.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis Glomus Heavy metal Phytoremediation 



Arbuscular mycorrhizal


Heavy metals


Effective concentration reducing germination or hyphal growth to 50%



We apologize to all those researchers whose work we overlooked or could not include because of page limitations. We are grateful to Patrick King for critical reading of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and Plant BiologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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