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See detailEarthworms Eisenia fetida affect the uptake of heavy metals by plants Vicia faba and Zea mays in metal-contaminated soils
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Liénard, Amandine ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg et al

in Applied Soil Ecology (2016), 104

Earthworms increase the availability of heavy metals in some situations and aid in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into metal-contaminated soils has been ... [more ▼]

Earthworms increase the availability of heavy metals in some situations and aid in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into metal-contaminated soils has been suggested as an aid for phytoremediation processes. In Wallonia, Belgium, a century of industrial metallurgic activities has led to the substantial pollution of soils by heavy metals, including copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), due to atmospheric dusts. Two plant species, Vicia faba and Zea mays, and earthworms (Eisenia fetida) (Savigny, 1826) were exposed to different concentrations of long-term-contaminated soils for 42 days. The soil samples, which were collected from the land surrounding a former Zn-Pb ore-treatment plant, exhibited different levels of heavy metals. Our aim was to evaluate the role of earthworms E. fetida on the availability of metals in soils and their effects on metal uptake by V. faba and Z. mays plants at different soil concentrations. The results suggest that earthworms and plants modified the availability of metals in contaminated soils after 42 days of exposure. Earthworm life-cycle parameters were affected by metal contamination and/or the addition of plants; cocoon production and weight were more responsive to adverse conditions than earthworm survival or weight change. The concentrations of Pb and Cd in earthworm tissues decreased in the presence of plants. Results showed that metal accumulation in plants depended on the metal element considered and the presence of earthworms. However, the presence of earthworms did not change the concentrations of metals in plants, except for Cd. In the presence or absence of earthworms, V. faba accumulated higher concentrations of Cu and Zn compared with Z. mays, which accumulated higher concentrations of Cd. These findings have revealed that earthworm activities can modify the availability of heavy metals for uptake by plants in contaminated soils. Moreover, the study results show that the ecological context of phytoremediation should be broadened by considering earthworm-plant-soil interaction, which influence both the health of the plant and the uptake of heavy metals by plants. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity-function relationship of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in soils among functional groups of grassland species under climate warming
Malchair, Sandrine ULg; De Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM et al

in Applied Soil Ecology (2010), 44

Although warming and plant diversity losses have important effects on aboveground ecosystem functioning, their belowground effects remain largely unknown. We studied the impact of a 3 °C warming and of ... [more ▼]

Although warming and plant diversity losses have important effects on aboveground ecosystem functioning, their belowground effects remain largely unknown. We studied the impact of a 3 °C warming and of three plant functional groups (forbs, grasses, legumes) on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) diversity (polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, PCR-DGGE) and their function (potential nitrification) in artificial grasslands. Warming did not influence AOB diversity and function. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments retrieved from DGGE gel revealed that they were all related to Nitrosospira-like sequences. Clustering analysis of DGGE profiles resulted in two nodes, separating AOB community structure under legumes from all other samples. Decreased AOB richness (number of DGGE bands) and concurrent increased potential nitrification were also observed under legumes. We hypothesized that ammonium availability was the driving force regulating the link between aboveground and belowground communities, as well as the AOB diversity and function link. The results document that the physiology of AOB might be an important regulator of AOB community structure and function under plant functional groups. This study highlights the major role of the microbial community composition in soil process responses to changes in the functional composition of plant communities. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrobial inoculation for improving the growth and health of micropropagated strawberry
Vestberg, Mauritz; Kukkonen, Sanna; Saari, K. et al

in Applied Soil Ecology (2004), 27(3), 243-258

Multimicrobial inoculation has been proposed as a way of protecting plants against environmental stress and increasing the sustainability of plant production. To study these possibilities in a ... [more ▼]

Multimicrobial inoculation has been proposed as a way of protecting plants against environmental stress and increasing the sustainability of plant production. To study these possibilities in a micropropagation system, microplants of strawberry, Fragaria x ananssa, were inoculated or left uninoculated with five microorganisms (Glomus mosseae BEG29, Bacillus subtilis M3, Trichoderma harzianum DB11, Pseudomonas fluorescens C7rl2 and Gliocladium catenulatum Gliomix(R)), used either singly or in dual mixtures in the presence or absence of the strawberry diseases crown rot (Phytophthora cactorum) and red stele (P. fragariae). Finnish light Sphagnum peat was used as the growth substrate in the experiments. Seven experiments were performed as two to three months pot experiments in greenhouses of research laboratories in Finland and Belgium and in a nursery in Finland. In most experiments, the inoculated microorganims were detected at sufficient densities four weeks after inoculation. Exceptions were T harzianum and G. mosseae which were detected at insufficient densities in several experiments. This might have been due to the biological and/or nutritional properties of the peat. None of the microorganisms or their mixtures caused significant growth-promoting effects in more than two experiments. Dual inoculation did not increase growth more than inoculation with single organisms. B. subtilis was the most promising growth promoting microorganism. Most of the microbial treatments decreased crown rot shoot symptoms as well as the numbers of oospores in the roots when the experiment was performed in autumn. In the summer experiment with conditions more favourable for strawberry growth, no disease control was obtained, but some of the microorganisms increased the severity of crown rot. No microbial treatment decreased shoot symptoms of red stele, but the degree of root necrosis was slightly decreased by B. subtilis and G. mosseae + G. catenulatum. The numbers of oospores of P. fragariae in strawberry roots were not decreased by any treatment, but several treatments increased them. Both growth promotion and disease control considered, the single microorganisms T harzianum, G. catenulatum and B. subtilis as well as the mixture T harzianum + G. catenulatum were the most promising treatments in this study. However, the great variation between experiments indicates that more studies are needed for optimization of the whole plant-substrate-microorganism system. The importance of microbial inoculation for ensuring subsequent growth in the field also needs to be studied. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil oribatid mite communities (Acari: Oribatida) from high Shaba (Zaïre) in relation to vegetation
Noti, M.-I.; André, H. M.; Dufrêne, Marc ULg

in Applied Soil Ecology (1997), 5(1), 81-96

Soil oribatid mite communities from three vegetation types (forest, woodland and savanna) are described in Luiswishi (high Shaba, Zaïre) and 151 species were recorded. Oribatid communities are organized ... [more ▼]

Soil oribatid mite communities from three vegetation types (forest, woodland and savanna) are described in Luiswishi (high Shaba, Zaïre) and 151 species were recorded. Oribatid communities are organized along a successional gradient which parallels the regressive sere defined by phytosociologists and going from the dense forest ("muhulu"), the local climax, to the savanna, passing through the woodland ("miombo"). Within this gradient, oribatid communities may vary depending on the habitat (presence of grass, high termitaria). The impact of seasons (dry vs. rainy season) is weak in the forest but drastic in savanna. The various soil oribatid communities are related to man's activities since the regressive sere results from repeated burnings and associated agricultural practices. [less ▲]

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