Isolation and identification of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from an abandoned uranium mine and their role in soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides and metals

Rosas-Moreno J., Walker C., Duffy K., Krüger C., Krüger M., Robinson CH., Pittman JK.

Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizas, Glomeromycota, Naturally occurring radionuclides, Metal uptake
Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi were recovered from soil samples from the naturally radioactive soil at the long-abandoned South Terras uranium mine in Cornwall, UK. Species of Rhizophagus, Claroideoglomus, Paraglomus, Septoglomus, and Ambispora were recovered, and pot cultures from all except Ambispora were established. Cultures were identified to species level using morphological observation and rRNA gene sequencing combined with phylogenetic analysis. These cultures were used in pot experiments designed with a compartmentalised system to assess the contribution of fungal hyphae to the accumulation of essential elements, such as copper and zinc, and non-essential elements, such as lead, arsenic, thorium, and uranium into root and shoot tissues of Plantago lanceolata. The results indicated that none of the treatments had any positive or negative impact on shoot and root biomass. However, Rhizophagus irregularis treatments showed higher accumulation of copper and zinc in shoots, while R. irregularis and Septoglomus constrictum enhanced arsenic accumulation in roots. Moreover, R. irregularis increased uranium concentration in roots and shoots of the P. lanceolata plant. This study provides useful insight into fungal-plant interactions that determine metal and radionuclide transfer from soil into the biosphere at contaminated sites such as mine workings.
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162781
IEB authors: Manuela Krüger