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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Lead contamination alters enzyme activities and microbial composition in the rhizosphere soil of the hyperaccumulator Pogonatherum crinitum

Hou, Xiao-long; Han, Hang; Tigabu, Mulualem; Li, Qi-yan; Li, Zong-xun; Zhu, Chen-lu; Huang, Si-qi; Cai, Li-ping; Liu, Ai-qin


Pogonatherum crinitum is a promising lead (Pb) hyperaccumulator; however, the effects of Pb contamination on P. crinitum rhizosphere soil enzymatic activities and microbial composition remain largely unexplored. Thus, an indoor experiment was conducted by cultivating P. crinitum seedlings and exposing them to four Pb concentrations (0, 1,000, 2000 and 3000 mg/kg Pb). Protease, urease, acid phosphatase and invertase activities were determined using standard methods while soil bacterial composition was determined by 16 S rDNA sequencing. The results showed that rhizosphere soil acid phosphatase activity significantly increased with increasing Pb concentration, while urease activity was significantly greater in rhizosphere soil contaminated with 1000 and 2000 mg/kg than in the control. There was a clear shift in bacterial composition during phytoremediation by P. crinitum. Compared to the control, Bacteroidetes was more abundant in all Pb-contaminated soils, Actinobacteria was more abundant in 1000 mg/kg Pb-treated soil, and Firmicutes was more abundant in 3000 mg/kg Pb-treated soil. Positive correlations were observed between dominant bacterial phyla and soil enzyme activities. Metabolic pathways, such as ABC transporter, quinine reductase, and ATP-binding protein were significantly increased in rhizosphere soil bacteria with Pb contamination. In conclusion, Pb contamination differentially influenced the activities of rhizosphere soil enzymes, specifically increasing acid phosphatase and urease activities, and alters the dominance of soil bacteria through up-regulation of genes related to some metabolic pathways. The strong correlations between dominant bacterial phyla and enzymatic activities suggest synergetic effects on the growth of P. crinitum during Pb contamination.


16S rDNA Bacteroidetes; Proteobacteria; protease; urease; Acid phosphatase

Published in

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
2021, Volume: 207, article number: 111308

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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