Mitigating Arsenic Toxicity in Plants: Role of Microbiota

  • Neha Pandey
  • Vibhuti Chandrakar
  • Sahu Keshavkant


Arsenic (As) pollution, particularly in soil and water, is a very prominent environmental issue which seriously threatens plant growth, development, and productivity. Since As is ubiquitous in the natural environment, microorganisms have developed mechanisms to resist the toxic effects of this metalloid. A large number of microorganisms, viz. Acinetobacter, Aeromonas, Bacillus, Exiguobacterium, and Pseudomonas, are capable of growing in the presence of high concentrations of As. But relatively less information is available on accumulation, mobilization, distribution, and speciation of As by rhizospheric microbiota and their impact on plant growth and development. The use of As-resistant and plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) for the restoration of plants growing on contaminated soils is the need of the time. The use of PGPM occupies a small but growing niche in the development of organic agriculture and has attracted attention during the last decade only. There are several reports revealing the multifarious role of soil microbiota in amelioration of As toxicity and improving metal tolerance in plants. Colonization of PGPMs helps the host plant to overcome As-induced phosphate (P) deficiency and consequently maintain favorable P:As ratio. Further, they also improve nutritional status and reduce As uptake and translocation in plants. Inoculation of bacteria/fungi can exert protective effects on vascular plants under As contamination by transforming more toxic inorganic forms into less toxic organic forms or via reducing the concentration of As by enhancing plant biomass. The PGPMs also result in higher activities of the antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and guaiacol peroxidase) and accumulation of nonenzymatic antioxidants (carotenoids, ascorbic acid, proline, and α-tocopherol). Increased concentrations of cysteine, glutathione, and non-protein thiols, and activity of glutathione S-transferase have also been reported that facilitate sequestration of As into nontoxic complexes. Thus, application of As-resistant PGPMs could provide a low cost and eco-friendly mitigation approach to diminish As accumulation in plants, thereby promoting higher growth, development, and yield responses. There is also a need to improve our understanding of the mechanisms involved in extenuating toxic effects of As by rhizospheric microbiota and to improve the stabilization of plants in contaminated sites.


Phytoremediation Plant-microbe interactions Plant growth Rhizosphere Toxic metalloids 



Authors are grateful to Science and Engineering Research Board, New Delhi; Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi; and Chhattisgarh Council of Science and Technology, Raipur, for providing financial assistance/research project to Neha Pandey, Vibhuti Chandrakar, and S. Keshavkant, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neha Pandey
    • 1
  • Vibhuti Chandrakar
    • 1
  • Sahu Keshavkant
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Studies in BiotechnologyPt. Ravishankar Shukla UniversityRaipurIndia
  2. 2.National Center for Natural ResourcesPt. Ravishankar Shukla UniversityRaipurIndia

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