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Microbial community structure and function in a soil contaminated by heavy metals: Effects of plant growth and different amendments

AuthorsPérez de Mora, Alfredo ; Burgos, Pilar ; Madejón, Engracia ; Cabrera, Francisco ; Jaeckel, P.; Schloter, Michael
Issue Date2006
PublisherPergamon Press
CitationSoil Biology and Biochemistry 38(2): 327- 341 (2006)
AbstractWe studied the effects of in situ remediation of a heavy metal (HM) contaminated soil on some soil chemical properties, microbial function and microbial structural diversity after 18 months. The experiment was carried out at semifield scale in containers filled with HM contaminated soil from the Aznalcóllar mine accident (Southern Spain, 1998). The remediation measures consisted of the application of different amendments and/or establishment of a plant cover (Agrostis stolonifera L.). Seven treatments were established: four organic treatments (municipal waste compost (MWC), biosolid compost (BC), leonardite (LEO) and litter (LIT)), one inorganic treatment (sugar beet lime (SL)) and two controls (control with plant cover (CTRP) and control without plant cover (CTR)). Several soil chemical (pH, soluble HM, total organic C (TOC), water-soluble C (WSC) and available-P) and biochemical properties (microbial biomass C (MBC), MBC/TOC ratio and enzyme activities) were determined. Microbial community structure was studied by means of ARDRA (amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis). The SL, MWC and BC treatments were the most efficient to raise soil pH and decrease soluble HM concentrations. Total organic C was increased in the organic treatments by 2 to 4-fold, whereas water-soluble C was statistically similar in the CTRP, SL and the organic treatments, probably due to the presence of a root system in all these treatments. Available-P was also increased in the BC, SL and MWC treatments due to the higher P content of the amendments applied in these treatments. Soil microbial function was generally enhanced in the amended and CTRP treatments. The MWC, BC and SL treatments were particularly efficient to increase microbial biomass C, the MBC/TOC ratio and the dehydrogenase and aryl-sulphatase enzyme activities. These results could be attributed to the amelioration of some of the soil chemical properties: increase in soil pH and water-soluble C and decrease of HM soluble concentrations. ARDRA analyses showed changes in structural diversity in both the bacterial and fungal community under the different treatments. Fingerprinting patterns of the 16S rDNA obtained with Hinf-I and of the 18S rDNA with Hpa-II revealed higher similarity percentages among samples from the same treatment compared with samples from the other treatments. In addition, a higher similarity was found between samples from all treatments under the Agrostis influence. The use of certain amendments and/or a plant cover is important for in situ remediation of HM contaminated soils, since these practices can affect soil chemical properties, as well as the microbial community function and structure.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2005.05.010
issn: 0038-0717
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