Plant-Microbe Partnerships for Enhanced Biodegradation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls

  • Prameela Jha
  • Prabhat Nath Jha


Our modern civilization rests on synthetic organic compounds. Some of these compounds which have become indispensable for human society are termed as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). They enter into the food chain where they bioaccumulate in fat tissues of organisms at various trophic levels and usually biomagnify the physiological effects at higher levels resulting in severe health hazards. Civil and mechanical engineering remediation methods deployed to clean such environmental contaminants have serious shortcomings of being expensive and environmentally invasive. Thus, there is an urgent need to search for alternative strategy(ies) which does not suffer from abovementioned shortcomings. The past decade has witnessed a momentum in the use of plants and its associated microflora partnerships as an alternative option. Plant and associated bacteria interact synergistically to lower down the levels of contaminants present in the immediate vicinity of root systems. Plants modulate root secretions and exudations to orchestrate recruitment of catabolically active bacteria in their rhizosphere. This recruitment in turn biodegrades contaminant(s) present in the rhizospheric soil by bacterial communities which subsequently reduces environmental stress on the plant. Thus, it is highly recommended to explore novel plant microbe pairs naturally operating in organic contaminated ecosystems and study the members of microbial communities to get more insight into a phenomenon of phytoremediation so that the technology may be optimized and extended from lab to land. The present review highlights the synergistic effects of plant-microbe interactions in the phytoremediation of organic pollutants with special reference to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Also, the state-of-the-art techniques used to study microbial diversity within PCB contaminated environments are discussed.


Panicum Virgatum Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Endophytic Bacterium Stable Isotope Probe 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The corresponding author thanks the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, for their financial support as Women Scientist scheme, DST No. SR/WOS-A/LS-275/2011 (G).


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental & Microbial Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biological SciencesBirla Institute of Technology and SciencePilaniIndia

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