Diversity and activity of soil biota at a post-mining site highly contaminated with Zn and Cd are enhanced by metallicolous compared to non-metallicolous Arabidopsis halleri ecotypes

Beata Klimek, Klaudia Stępniewska, Barbara Seget, Vimal Chandra Pandey, Alicja Babst-Kostecka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hyperaccumulators' ability to take up large quantities of harmful heavy metals from contaminated soils and store them in their foliage makes them promising organisms for bioremediation. Here we demonstrate that some ecotypes of the zinc hyperaccumulator Arabidopsis halleri are more suitable for bioremediation than others, because of their distinct influence on soil biota. In a field experiment, populations originating from metal-polluted and unpolluted soils were transplanted to a highly contaminated metalliferous site in Southern Poland. Effects of plant ecotypes on soil biota were assessed by measurements of feeding activity of soil fauna (bait-lamina test) and catabolic activity and functional diversity of soil bacteria underneath A. halleri plants (Biolog® ECO plates). Chemical soil properties, plant morphological parameters, and zinc concentration in shoots and roots were additionally evaluated. Higher soil fauna feeding activity and higher bacterial community functional diversity were found in soils affected by A. halleri plants originating from metallicolous compared to non-metallicolous ecotypes. Differences in community-level physiological profiles further evidenced changes in microbial communities in response to plant ecotype. These soil characteristics were positively correlated with plant size. No differences in zinc content in shoots and roots, zinc translocation ratio, and plant morphology were observed between metallicolous and non-metallicolous plants. Our results indicate strong associations between A. halleri ecotype and soil microbial community properties. In particular, the improvement of soil biological properties by metallicolous accessions should be further explored to optimize hyperaccumulator-based bioremediation technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1538-1548
Number of pages11
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Biolog®ECO
  • Olkusz ore district
  • bait-lamina strips
  • functional microbial diversity
  • hyperaccumulators
  • soil organisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Soil Science

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