The application of an organic amendment modifies the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities colonizing native seedlings grown in a heavy-metal-polluted soil.
A mesocosm experiment was conducted to investigate whether communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associated with roots of native (Piptatherum miliaceum, Retama sphaerocarpa, Psoralea bituminosa, Coronilla juncea, and Anthyllis cytisoides) and for comparison (Lolium perenne) seedlings in a heavy-metal-contaminated, semiarid soil were affected by the application of composted sugar beet waste. We also investigated whether there were relation between AMF diversity and metal concentration (Al, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn) and total P in shoot as well as some soil parameters (total organic carbon and total N) when the SB waste was added to the soil. We analyzed a portion of approximately 795 base pairs of the small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene by nested PCR, cloning, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses. Twelve different AMF sequence types were distinguished: seven of these belonged to Glomus group A, one to Glomus group B, one to Diversispora, one to Archaeospora, and two to Paraglomus. The AM fungal populations colonizing roots in a heavy-metal-polluted soil were quite dependent on the host plant, the highest diversity values being obtained in authochtonous plants recognized as metallophytes, such as P. bituminosa, and in an allochtonous, invasive species (L. perenne). No significant correlation was found between AMF diversity and plant metal concentration and soil parameters. Excepting P. bituminosa, when sugar beet waste was added to soil, the populations of AM fungi in roots increased and the shoot metal concentrations decreased in all host plant species studied. Therefore, the addition of sugar beet waste can be considered a good strategy for the remediation and/or phytostabilization of mine tailing sites.