Pedosphere 28(2): 311--322, 2018
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2018 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Enhanced Lead Uptake by an Association of Plant and Earthworm Bioaugmented with Bacteria
Anamika DAS, Jabez W. OSBORNE
Department of Biosciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore 632014 (India)
      Lead (Pb) is recorded as the second most hazardous pollutant of the environment. Previous cases of Pb bioremediation has been reported using single biosystem, but very few reports are available in biological approaches using multi-biosystems to achieve an enhanced bioremoval of Pb. The present study evaluated the capacity of a unique association of Pennisetum purpureum, a hyperaccumulator plant, and Lumbricus terrestris (earthworm) bioaugmented with a Pb-resistant bacterium, obtained from an industrially contaminated site and identified as isolate VITMVCJ1 Klebsiella variicola, to bioremediate Pb. The Pb-resistant gene was amplified in the bacterial isolate VITMVCJ1. The study was conducted for 60 d. Results verified that the bioaugmentation process enhanced 1) root and shoot length of the plants, 2) chlorophyll content of the plants, and 3) biofilm-producing ability of the microbes from the rhizosphere region of the plants. The total phenolic and flavonoid contents were found to be lower in the plants in the bioaugmented setup. The study also observed a reduction in the toxic effects of Pb on earthworm and plant. The earthworm was used to assess the Pb-induced stress syndrome after exposure to sublethal concentrations of Pb in the soil. A reduction in the content of malondialdehyde, a potential biomarker, on exposure to Pb demonstrated the role of the inoculum to alleviate heavy metal-induced stress in earthworms. All three symbionts accumulated Pb; Pb was accumulated mainly in the root of the plant, and poorly in the shoot of the plant and body mass of the earthworm. The bioaugmentation system exhibited stable and excellent uptake of Pb from the contaminated soils. The results of the present study suggest the positive effect of the synergistic association of the plant and earthworm with appropriate microbes for the bioremoval of Pb.
Key Words:  bioaugmentation,bioremediation,heavy metal,hyperaccumulator,Klebsiella variicola,Lumbricus terrestris,malondialdehyde,Pennisetum purpureum
Citation: Das A, Osborne J W. 2018. Enhanced lead uptake by an association of plant and earthworm bioaugmented with bacteria. Pedosphere. 28(2):311-322.
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