Plant and Soil

, Volume 434, Issue 1–2, pp 245–262 | Cite as

Biomass, activity and structure of rhizosphere soil microbial community under different metallophytes in a mining site

  • Wenhao Yang
  • Pei Li
  • Christopher Rensing
  • Wuzhong NiEmail author
  • Shihe Xing
Regular Article


Background and aims

Microbial properties are often used to assess the recovery of soil health during phytoremediation. A field survey was conducted to test the effects of different plant metallophytes (excluder and hyperaccumulator) on soil microbial characteristics.


Microbial properties in the rhizosphere of four metallophytes (Sedum alfredii, Rubus hunanensis, Lysimachia christinae and Clinopodium gracile) growing naturally on highly Cd-, Zn- and Pb-contaminated soils were investigated. Microbial biomass carbon, basal respiration, enzyme activities and phospholipid fatty acids were analyzed to study microbial community function and composition.


The total microbial biomass, bacterial, actinomycete, fungal, and protozoan PLFAs, basal respiration and enzyme activities in the rhizosphere of metallophytes were significantly higher than in bulk soil. Moreover, the largest increases were found in the rhizosphere of the hyperaccumulator S. alfredii. The microbial community composition in the rhizosphere of S. alfredii was significantly different from the other 3 plants. Redundancy analysis showed that soil physico-chemical properties such as metal concentrations, labile carbon and pH explained most of the variation in microbial community biomass, activity and structure.


Metallophytes using different strategies to adapt to metal-rich soils induced different effects on soil microbial properties, which were also influenced by physico-chemical characteristics.


Metallophytes Heavy metal Rhizosphere Microbial biomass Enzyme activity Microbial community structure 



We are grateful for the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41501345), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (Nos. 2015 J01155) and the Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (Nos. XJQ201628).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenhao Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pei Li
    • 1
  • Christopher Rensing
    • 1
  • Wuzhong Ni
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shihe Xing
    • 1
  1. 1.Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil Environmental Health and Regulation, College of Resource and EnvironmentFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Key Laboratory of Agricultural Resource and Environment of Zhejiang ProvinceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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