Changes induced by heavy metals in the plant-associated microbiome of Miscanthus x giganteus

Urška Zadel, Joseph Nesme, Bernhard Michalke, Gisle Vestergaard, Grażyna A. Płaza, Peter Schröder*, Viviane Radl, Michael Schloter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Miscanthus x giganteus is a high biomass producing plant with tolerance to heavy metals. This makes Miscanthus interesting to be used for phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated areas coupled with energy production. Since plant performance in metal polluted areas is impaired, their growth and phytoremediation effect can be improved with bacterial assistance. To identify positive and negative responders of M. x giganteus associated microbiome influenced by Cd, Pb and Zn stress compared to non-contaminated controls, we designed a greenhouse experiment. Structure of the bacterial community in three rhizocompartments, namely rhizosphere, rhizoplane and root endosphere was analysed using an isolation independent molecular approach based on 16S rRNA gene barcoding. Furthermore, quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used for bacterial biomass estimation. Our results indicated that biomass and total bacterial diversity in rhizosphere, rhizoplane and root endosphere did not significantly change despite of substantial root uptake of heavy metals. Overall, we detected 6621 OTUs, from which 171 were affected by metal addition. Whereas Streptomyces and Amycolatopsis taxa were negatively affected by the heavy metal treatment in endosphere, taxa assigned to Luteolibacter in rhizosphere and rhizoplane (log2 fold change 1.9-4.1) and Micromonospora in endosphere (log2 fold change 10.2) were found to be significantly enriched and highly abundant (0.1-3.7% relative abundance) under heavy metal stress. Those taxa might be of key importance for M. x giganteus performance under heavy metal pollution and might be interesting candidates for the development of new bioinocula in the future to promote plant growth and phytoremediation in heavy metal contaminated soils.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134433
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Heavy metal contamination
  • Rhizosphere
  • Rhizoplane
  • Endosphere
  • Luteolibacter
  • Micromonospora


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