Mycorrhiza and heavy metal resistant bacteria enhance growth, nutrient uptake and alter metabolic profile of sorghum grown in marginal soil

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Biological Sciences


The main challenge for plants growing in nutrient poor, contaminated soil is biomass reduction, nutrient deficiency and presence of heavy metals. Our aim is to overcome these challenges using different microbial combinations in mining-impacted soil and focus on their physiological and biochemical impacts on a model plant system, which has multiple applications. In the current study, sorghum BTx623 seedlings grown in mining-impacted soil in greenhouse were subjected to plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB or B) alone, PGPB with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (My), My alone and control group with no treatment. Root biomass and uptake of most of the elements showed significant increase in all treatment groups in comparison with control. Mycorrhiza group showed the best effect followed by My + B and B groups for uptake of majority of the elements by roots. On the contrary, biomass of both shoot and root was more influenced by B treatment than My + B and My treatments. Metabolomics identified compounds whose levels changed in roots of treatment groups significantly in comparison to control. Upregulation of stearic acid, sorbitol, sebacic acid and ferulic acid correlated positively with biomass and uptake of almost all elements. Two biochemical pathways, fatty acid biosynthesis and galactose metabolism, were regulated in all treatment groups. Three common pathways were upregulated only in My and My + B groups. Our results suggest that PGPB enhanced metabolic activities which resulted in increase in element uptake and sorghum root biomass whether accompanied with mycorrhiza or used solely.

Publisher's Statement

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.04.112

Publication Title