The combined effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and lead stress on Pb accumulation, plant growth parameters, photosynthesis, and antioxidant enzymes in robinia pseudoacacia L

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are considered as a potential biotechnological tool for improving phytostabilization efficiency and plant tolerance to heavy metal-contaminated soils. However, the mechanisms through which AMF help to alleviate metal toxicity in plants are still poorly understood. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of two AMF species on the growth, Pb accumulation, photosynthesis and antioxidant enzyme activities of a leguminous tree at Pb addition levels of 0, 500, 1000 and 2000 mg kg-1 soil. AMF symbiosis decreased Pb concentrations in the leaves and promoted the accumulation of biomass as well as photosynthetic pigment contents. Mycorrhizal plants had higher gas exchange capacity, non-photochemistry efficiency, and photochemistry efficiency compared with non-mycorrhizal plants. The enzymatic activities of superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidases and glutathione peroxidase were enhanced, and hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde contents were reduced in mycorrhizal plants. These findings suggested that AMF symbiosis could protect plants by alleviating cellular oxidative damage in response to Pb stress. Furthermore, mycorrhizal dependency on plants increased with increasing Pb stress levels, indicating that AMF inoculation likely played a more important role in plant Pb tolerance in heavily contaminated soils. Overall, both F. mosseae and R. intraradices were able to maintain efficient symbiosis with R. pseudoacacia in Pb polluted soils. AMF symbiosis can improve photosynthesis and reactive oxygen species scavenging capabilities and decrease Pb concentrations in leaves to alleviate Pb toxicity in R. pseudoacacia. Our results suggest that the application of the two AMF species associated with R. pseudoacacia could be a promising strategy for enhancing the phytostabilization efficiency of Pb contaminated soils.

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Jiangjin Chen
Wuhan University

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