Two bacterial strains isolated from a Zn-polluted soil enhance plant growth and mycorrhizal efficiency under Zn-toxicity

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

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In this study we investigated the interactions among plant, rhizosphere microorganisms and Zn pollution. We tested the influence of two bacterial strains isolated from a Zn-polluted soil on plant growth and on the symbiotic efficiency of native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) under Zn toxicity. The two bacterial strains exhibited Zn tolerance when cultivated under increasing Zn levels in the medium. However, strain B-I showed a higher Zn tolerance than strain B-II at the two highest Zn levels in the medium (75 and 100 mg l -1 Zn). Molecular identification placed the strain B-I within the genus Brevibacillus. Our results showed that bacterial strain B-I consistently enhanced plant growth, N and P accumulation, as well as nodule number and mycorrhizal infection which demonstrated its plant-growth promoting (PGP) activity. This strain B-I has been shown to produce IAA (3.95 μg ml) and to accumulate 5.6% of Zn from the growing medium. The enhanced growth and nutrition of plants dually inoculated with the AMF and bacterium B-I was observed at three Zn levels assayed. This effect can be related to the stimulation of symbiotic structures (nodules and AMF colonization) and a decreased Zn concentration in plant tissues. The amount of Zn acquired per root weight unit was reduced by each one of these bacterial strains or AMF and particularly by the mixed bacterium-AMF inocula. These mechanisms explain the alleviation of Zn toxicity by selected microorganisms and indicate that metal-adapted bacteria and AMF play a key role enhancing plant growth under soil Zn contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1533
Number of pages11
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2006



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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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