Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 8125–8135 | Cite as

Effect of Vicia faba L. var. minor and Sulla coronaria (L.) Medik associated with plant growth-promoting bacteria on lettuce cropping system and heavy metal phytoremediation under field conditions

  • Omar Saadani
  • Salwa Harzalli Jebara
  • Imen Challougui Fatnassi
  • Manel Chiboub
  • Khediri Mannai
  • Imen Zarrad
  • Moez JebaraEmail author
Research Article


Researches involving the use of association between legumes and PGPBs (plant growth-promoting bacteria) in heavy metal phytoremediation process were mainly performed for soils highly contaminated. However, even in agriculture soils, with moderate or low contamination levels, plants can accumulate high rates of heavy metals. So, food chain contamination by these metals presents a real threat to animal and human health. This work aimed to evaluate the use of two legumes/PGPB symbioses; Vicia faba var. minor and Sulla coronaria have been inoculated with specific heavy metal-resistant inocula in a crop rotation system with Lactuca sativa as a following crop, in order to assess their effects on soil fertility, lettuce yield, and heavy metal content. Our results showed that legume inoculation significantly enhanced their biomass production, nitrogen and phosphorus content. The use of our symbioses as green manure before lettuce cultivation, as a rotation cropping system, affected positively soil fertility. In fact, we recorded a higher organic matter content, with rapid decomposition in the soil of inoculated plots. Besides, results demonstrated a greater nitrogen and phosphorus content in this soil, especially in the plot cultivated with inoculated V. faba var. minor. The improvement of soil fertility enhanced lettuce yield and its nitrogen and phosphorus content. Moreover, inoculated legumes extracted and accumulated more heavy metals than non-inoculated legumes. Our symbioses play the role of organic trap for heavy metals, making them unavailable for following crops. These facts were supported by lettuce heavy metal content, showing a significant decrease in metal accumulation, mainly zinc and cadmium, in edible parts. Results showed the usefulness of the studied symbioses, as a main part of a rotation system with lettuce. Our symbioses can be suggested for agriculture soil phytoremediation, aiming to enhance non-legume crop yield and limit heavy metal translocation to food chain.


Crop rotation Heavy metal Legume Lettuce PGPBs Phytoremediation 



The authors acknowledge Bechir Ben Aicha and Nour El Houda Romdhane for their help and advice during the field experimentation. The authors also thank Ms. Fatma Lazreg Bouazizi for English editing.


This work was supported by the Center of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria and Regional Office of Agriculture Development of Monastir. This research work is carried out within the framework of a MOBIDOC thesis funded by the EU-PASRI program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Biotechnology Borj CedriaUniversity Tunis El ManarHammam-LifTunisia
  2. 2.Regional Office of Agriculture Development of MonastirMonastirTunisia

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