Inoculation of Sinorhizobium saheli YH1 Leads to Reduced Metal Uptake for Leucaena leucocephala Grown in Mine Tailings and Metal-Polluted Soils

Xia Kang, Xiumei Yu (Lead / Corresponding author), Yu Zhang, Yongliang Cui, Weiguo Tu, Qiongyao Wang, Yanmei Li, Lanfang Hu, Yunfu Gu, Ke Zhao, Quanju Xiang, Qiang Chen, Menggen Ma, Likou Zou, Xiaoping Zhang, Jinsan Kang

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Metalliferous mine tailings have a negative impact on the soil environment near mining areas and render cultivable lands infertile. Phytoremediation involving the synergism of legume and rhizobia provides a useful technique in tackling this issue with cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and easy-to-use features under adverse soil conditions. Leucaena leucocephala has been found to build symbiotic relationships with native rhizobia in the iron-vanadium-titanium oxide (V-Ti magnetite) mine tailing soil. Rhizobia YH1, isolated from the root nodules of L. leucocephala, was classified as Sinorhizobium saheli according to similarity and phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA, housekeeping and nitrogen fixation genes. Besides nitrogen fixation, S. saheli YH1 also showed capabilities to produce indole-acetic acid (IAA) (166.77 ± 2.03 mg l -1s) and solubilize phosphate (104.41 ± 7.48 mg l -1). Pot culture experiments showed that strain YH1 increased the biomass, plant height and root length of L. leucocephala by 67.2, 39.5 and 27.2% respectively. There was also an average increase in plant N (10.0%), P (112.2%) and K (25.0%) contents compared to inoculation-free control. The inoculation of YH1 not only reduced the uptake of all metals by L. leucocephala in the mine tailings, but also resulted in decreased uptake of Cd by up to 79.9% and Mn by up to 67.6% for plants grown in soils contaminated with Cd/Mn. It was concluded that S. saheli YH1 possessed multiple beneficial effects on L. leucocephala grown in metalliferous soils. Our findings highlight the role of S. saheli YH1 in improving plant health of L. leucocephala by reducing metal uptake by plants grown in heavy metal-polluted soils. We also suggest the idea of using L. leucocephala-S. saheli association for phytoremediation and revegetation of V-Ti mine tailings and soils polluted with Cd or Mn.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1853
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2018


  • Heavy metals
  • Leucaena leucocephala
  • Mine tailings
  • Phytoremediation
  • Sinorhizobium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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