Phytostabilization and biomineralization at the heavy metal contaminated site Gessenwiese

Institution: Institute of Microbiology
Microbial Phytopathology
Neugasse 25
07743 Jena
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Telephone: +49 (0)3641/949390
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Renè Phieler

Among various organic and inorganic pollutants, great worldwide concern about soil contamination regards heavy metals. In the European Union, contamination by metals accounts for more than 37% of cases.

Phytoremediation is the use of plants to bioremediate contaminated soil. This term refers to a diverse collection of plant-based technologies, among which phytoextraction and phytostabilisation are the most reliable for heavy metals. Plants represent a more environmentally compatible and less expensive method to remediate contaminated sites compared to physico-chemical approaches.

This project will focus on studying remediation potential of selected test plants at the heavy metal contaminated site “Gessenwiese”. The objective is to develop more knowledge-driven field remediation techniques to remediate and restore contaminated sites. Of special interests are the interactions between soil microorganisms and plants with respect to the uptake of heavy metals as well as the formation of (bio)minerals due to microbial activities in soil.

The use of rhizosphere microbes such as ectomycorrhizal fungi as well as mycorrhizal helper bacteria can interact synergistically to stimulate plant growth through a range of mechanisms that include improved nutrient acquisition and increased biomass production. These microorganisms can increase the availability of heavy metals in soil and therefore affect the total uptake of heavy metals by host plants.