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The effect of earthworms on plant response in metal contaminated soil focusing on belowground-aboveground relationships

Abstract : Contaminated soils are lands in Europe deemed less favourable for conventional agriculture. To overcome the problem of their poor fertility, bio-fertilization could be a promising approach. Soil inoculation with a choice of biological species (e.g. earthworm, mycorrhizal fungi, diazotroph bacteria) can be performed in order to improve soil properties and promote nutrients recycling. However, questions arise concerning the dynamics of the contaminants in an inoculated soil. The aim of this study was to highlight the soil-plant-earthworm interactions in the case of a slightly contaminated soil. For this purpose, a pot experiment in controlled conditions was carried out during 2 months with a Cd, Zn, and Cu contaminated sandy soil, including conditions with or without earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa) and with or without plants (Lolium perenne). The three components of the trace element bioavailability were studied to understand the belowground-aboveground relationships and were quantified as followed: i) environmental availability in soils by measuring trace element concentrations in soil solution, ii) environmental bioavailability for organisms by measuring trace element concentrations in depurated whole earthworms bodies and in the plant aerial biomass, and iii) toxicological bioavailability, by measuring survival rate and body weight changes for earthworms and biomass for plants. The results showed that earthworm inoculation increased the content of all studied TE in soil solution. Moreover, lower concentrations of Cd and Zn were found in plants in the presence of earthworms while the bioavailability decreased when compared to the condition without plants. The trace element bioaccumulation in earthworms did not produce a direct toxicity, according to the earthworm survival rate and body weight results. Finally, our pot experiment confirmed that even in contaminated soils, the presence of A. caliginosa promotes plant adaptation and improves biomass production, reducing trace element uptake.
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Contributor : Marina Pavlidès <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 10:22:52 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 3:29:19 AM

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Olivier Hullot, Isabelle Lamy, Raphael Tiziani, Tanja Mimmo, Lisa Ciadamidaro. The effect of earthworms on plant response in metal contaminated soil focusing on belowground-aboveground relationships. Environmental Pollution, Elsevier, 2021, 274, pp.116499. ⟨10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116499⟩. ⟨hal-03324891⟩



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