Plant species and heavy metals affect biodiversity of microbial communities associated with metal-tolerant plants in metalliferous soils

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number01425
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2018
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We here assess the biodiversity of the rhizosphere microbial communities of metal-tolerant plant species Arabidopsis arenosa, Arabidopsis halleri, Deschampsia caespitosa and Silene vulgaris when growing on various heavy metal polluted sites. Our broad-spectrum analyses included counts for total and metal-tolerant culturable bacteria, assessments of microbial community structure by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiling and community-level analysis based on BIOLOG-CLPP to indicate functional diversity. The genetic-biochemical diversity was also measured by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and metabolomic analysis (HPLC-MS). Different rhizospheres showed distinctive profiles of microbial traits, which also differed significantly from bulk soil, indicating an influence from sampling site as well as plant species. However, total bacterial counts and PCR-DGGE profiles were most affected by the plants, whereas sampling site-connected variability was predominant for the PLFA profiles and an interaction of both factors for BIOLOG-CLPP. Correlations were also observed between pH, total and bioavailable Cd or Zn and measured microbial traits. Thus, both plant species and heavy-metals were shown to be major determinants of microbial community structure and function


  • heavy metals, Rhizosphere biodiversity, BIOLOG-CLPP, PLFA, DGGE, HPLC-MS, Metallophytes