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Bacteria mediating higher heavy metal accumulation in plants used for phytoextraction

Project Leader
Puschenreiter Markus, Project Leader
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
University of Vienna, Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien, Austria.
Contact person: Franz Hadacek;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Hauser Marie-Theres, Sub Projectleader
Neubert Susanne, Project Staff (bis 08.10.2019)
Konlechner Cornelia, Project Staff (bis 01.02.2014)
Fallmann Katharina, Project Staff (bis 18.05.2015)
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology (IAGZ)
Institute of Soil Research
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
Phytoremediation is an emerging cleanup technology for the restoration of soils and is based on the use of plants. Phytoextraction is the application of higher plants to remove inorganic contaminants, primarily metals, from polluted soil. Willow (Salix caprea L.) is a suitable candidate for phytoremediation applications due to its rapid growth and high biomass production and highly accumulating clones have been identified in a previous project. In addition, a high number of bacterial strains (346) have been isolated from the rhizo- and endosphere of Salix caprea L. growing in heavy metal contaminated sites and characterized. Some studies and results obtained by the project consortium indicate that the plant-associated microflora plays an essential role in the metal accumulating capacity of the plant. Bacteria are known to interact synergistically with roots to enhance the potential for metal uptake by diverse mechanisms such as secreting organic compounds which increase the bio-availability and facilitate root absorption of metals by influencing metal solubility. They may further alter root exudation as well as plant gene expression. Plant growth promoting bacteria with a highly beneficial effect on phytoextraction efficiency have been identified by the project consortium. Within this project isolated strains will be tested for their effect on plant gene expression as well as their colonization efficiency. Compounds responsible for mobilizing effects will be identified. Subsequently, selected strains will be thoroughly tested in plant experiments regarding their application potential. A detailed population analysis of bacteria associated with highly and poorly accumulating Salix caprea L. clones will reveal, which bacterial groups correlate with a good accumulation potential. The results of this project will identify promising inoculant strains and will as well provide the basis for the further development of improved phytoextraction technologies.
soil science; biotechnology;
soil bacteria; phytoextraction; rhizosphere; Salix caprea; heavy metals;

Windhager C, Fallmann K, Kuffner M, Kandula M, Puschenreiter M, Sessitsch A, Hauser M-T (2010): Does the effect of selected bacteria on concentration of and tolerance to zinc and cadmium correlate with gene expression in Salix caprea? . [Poster]
[2nd Annual meeting of the OeGMBT (Austrian Association of Molecular Life Sciences and Biotechnology), Vienna, Austria, Sept 7-29, 2010]

In: Austrian Association of Molecular Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Molecular and Applied Biosciences Austria 2010, Poster 111, page 92

K. Fallmann, M. Kuffner, M. Puschenreiter, G. Wieshammer, S. dos Reis and A. Sessitsch (2009): Salix caprea rhizobacteria and endophytes with potential to enhance effectiveness of heavy metal phytoextraction from soil. [Poster]
[VAAM - Workshop "Symbiotic Interactions", HelmholtzZentrum münchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Germany, NOV 19-20, 2009]

In: HelmholtzZentrum münchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health, VAAM - Workshop "Symbiotic Interactions" (Abstracts), Plant - soil, p. 58


Hauser, M-T (2008): The potential of association studies for heavy metal remediation technologies by willows (Salix caprea).

, COST 859 Workshop: Contaminants and nutrients: availability, accumulation/exclusion and plant-microbia-soil interactions, Mai 22– 24, 2008, Smolenice, Slovakia

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