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      Ecosystem services and plant physiological status during endophyte-assisted phytoremediation of metal contaminated soil.

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          Mining sites shelter a characteristic biodiversity with large potential for the phytoremediation of metal contaminated soils. Endophytic plant growth-promoting bacteria were isolated from two metal-(hyper)accumulator plant species growing in a metal contaminated mine soil. After characterizing their plant growth-promoting traits, consortia of putative endophytes were used to carry out an endophyte-assisted phytoextraction experiment using Noccaea caerulescens and Rumex acetosa (singly and in combination) under controlled conditions. We evaluated the influence of endophyte-inoculated plants on soil physicochemical and microbial properties, as well as plant physiological parameters and metal concentrations. Data interpretation through the grouping of soil properties within a set of ecosystem services was also carried out. When grown together, we observed a 41 and 16% increase in the growth of N. caerulescens and R. acetosa plants, respectively, as well as higher values of Zn phytoextraction and soil microbial biomass and functional diversity. Inoculation of the consortia of putative endophytes did not lead to higher values of plant metal uptake, but it improved the plants' physiological status, by increasing the content of chlorophylls and carotenoids by up to 28 and 36%, respectively, indicating a reduction in the stress level of plants. Endophyte-inoculation also stimulated soil microbial communities: higher values of acid phosphatase activity (related to the phosphate solubilising traits of the endophytes), bacterial and fungal abundance, and structural diversity. The positive effects of plant growth and endophyte inoculation on soil properties were reflected in an enhancement of some ecosystem services (biodiversity, nutrient cycling, water flow regulation, water purification and contamination control).

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          Author and article information

          Sci. Total Environ.
          The Science of the total environment
          Elsevier BV
          Apr 15 2017
          : 584-585
          [1 ] NEIKER, Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Soil Microbial Ecology Group, c/ Berreaga 1, E-48160 Derio, Spain.
          [2 ] NEIKER, Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Soil Microbial Ecology Group, c/ Berreaga 1, E-48160 Derio, Spain. Electronic address: lepelde@neiker.eus.
          [3 ] University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, P.O. Box 644, E-48080 Bilbao, Spain.


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