Influence of bacterial strains isolated from lead-polluted soil and their interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizae on the growth of Trifolium pratense L. under lead toxicity

A. Vivas, R. Azcón, B. Biró, J. M. Barea, J. M. Ruiz-Lozano

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We isolated two bacterial strains from an experimentally lead (Pb) -polluted soil in Hungary, 10 years after soil contamination. These strains represented the two most abundant cultivable bacterial groups in such soil, and we tested their influence on Trifolium pratense L. growth and on the functioning of native mycorrhizal fungi under Pb toxicity in a second Pb-spiked soil. Our results showed that bacterial strain A enhanced plant growth, nitrogen and phosphorus accumulations, nodule formation, and mycorrhizal infection, demonstrating its plant-growth-promoting activity. In addition, strain A decreased the amount of Pb absorbed by plants, when expressed on a root weight basis, because of increased root biomass due to the production of indoleacetic acid. The positive effect of strain A was not only evident after a single inoculation but also in dual inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Strain A also exhibited higher tolerance than strain B when cultivated under increasing Pb levels in the spiked soil. Molecular identification unambiguously placed strain A within the genus Brevibacillus. We showed that it is important to select the most tolerant and efficient bacterial strain for co-inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to promote effective symbiosis and thus stimulate plant growth under adverse environmental conditions, such as heavy-metal contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-588
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian journal of microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003



  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis
  • Pb-polluted soil
  • Plant-growth-promoting bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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