Optimization of plant growth-promoting bacteria-assisted phytostabilization of mine tailings

Christopher J. Grandlic, Michael W. Palmer, Raina M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Recent studies have indicated that plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) can improve revegetation of arid mine tailings as measured by increased biomass production. The goals of the present study were first to evaluate how mode of application of known PGPB affects plant growth, and second to evaluate the effect of this inoculation on rhizosphere microbial community structure. PGPB application strategies investigated include preliminary surface sterilization of seeds (a common practice in phytoremediation trials) followed by a comparison of two application methods; immersion and alginate encapsulation. Results with two native desert plant species, Atriplex lentiformis and Buchloe dactyloides, suggest that seed surface sterilization prior to inoculation is not necessary to achieve beneficial effects of introduced PGPB. Both PGPB application techniques generally enhanced plant growth although results were both plant and PGPB specific. These results demonstrate that alginate encapsulation, which allows for long-term storage and easier application to seeds, is an effective way to inoculate PGPB. In addition, the influence of PGPB application on B. dactyloides rhizosphere community structure was evaluated using PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) analysis of bacterial DNA extracted from rhizosphere samples collected 75 d following planting. A comparative analysis of DGGE profiles was performed using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). DGGE-CCA showed that rhizosphere community profiles from PGPB-inoculated treatments are significantly different from both uninoculated tailings rhizosphere profiles and profiles from the compost used to amend the tailings. Further, community profiles from B. dactyloides inoculated with the best performing PGPB (Arthro Mix) were significantly different from two other PGPB tested. These results suggest that introduced PGPB have the potential to influence the development of the rhizosphere community structure found in plants grown in mine tailings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1734-1740
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Alginate encapsulation
  • DGGE
  • Mine tailings
  • PGPB
  • Phytoremediation
  • Phytostabilization
  • Plant growth-promoting bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science


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