Lead accumulation and soil microbial activity in the rhizosphere of the mining and non-mining ecotypes of Athyrium wardii (Hook.) Makino in adaptation to lead-contaminated soils

  • Qingpei Zhang
  • Juan Zhan
  • Haiying YuEmail author
  • Tingxuan Li
  • Xizhou Zhang
  • Huagang Huang
  • Yunhong Zhang
Research Article


Better understanding of microbial activity in the rhizosphere soils associated with lead (Pb) uptake by plants may help with the phytoremediation of Pb-contaminated soils. In this work, the effects of Pb exposure (0, 200, 400, 600, 800 mg kg−1) on Pb accumulation and soil microbial activity in the rhizosphere of the mining ecotype (ME) and corresponding non-mining ecotype (NME) of Athyrium wardii (Hook.) Makino were investigated through a pot experiment. Although the plant growth of the two ecotypes was inhibited under Pb stress, the ME showed a less biomass decrease (12.6–44.0%) for aboveground than the NME, showing a greater tolerance to Pb stress. Pb concentrations as well as Pb accumulation in the two ecotypes showed an increasing trend with increasing soil Pb concentrations. The ME presented greater Pb accumulation ability than the NME, especially in underground parts. Pb availability in the rhizosphere soils of the two ecotypes after harvest decreased compared with those before transplantation. Available Pb in the rhizosphere of the ME was 1.4–4.8 times higher than that of the NME under exposure to 200–800 mg kg−1 Pb. The ME shows a greater ability to mobilize Pb in the rhizosphere soils. Pb exposure resulted in an inhibition of microbial activity in the rhizosphere of the two ecotypes. The ME demonstrated greater soil respiration and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) in the rhizosphere than the NME when treated with 200–800 mg kg−1 Pb. The ME showed a less decrease for MBC and a less increase for metabolic quotient in the rhizosphere soils than the NME when exposed to Pb generally. Microorganisms in the rhizosphere soils of the ME seem to be much more adapted to Pb stress, thus showing a great benefit for Pb accumulation and the phytostabilization of Pb-contaminated soils by the ME.


Pb Accumulation Microbial activity Rhizosphere Phytostabilization Athyrium wardii (Hook.) Makino 


Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (2018YFD0800600) and Sichuan Key Research Programs (2017SZ0188, 2017SZ0198, and 2018SZ0326).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6395_MOESM1_ESM.doc (60 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 60 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingpei Zhang
    • 1
  • Juan Zhan
    • 1
  • Haiying Yu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tingxuan Li
    • 1
  • Xizhou Zhang
    • 1
  • Huagang Huang
    • 1
  • Yunhong Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of ResourcesSichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina

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