Growth of Quailbush in Acidic, Metalliferous Desert Mine Tailings: Effect of Azospirillum brasilense Sp6 on Biomass Production and Rhizosphere Community Structure

Luz E. de-Bashan, Juan Pablo Hernandez, Karis N. Nelson, Yoav Bashan, Raina M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Mine tailing deposits in semiarid and arid environments frequently remain devoid of vegetation due to the toxicity of the substrate and the absence of a diverse soil microbial community capable of supporting seed germination and plant growth. The contribution of the plant growth promoting bacterium (PGPB) Azospirillum brasilense Sp6 to the growth of quailbush in compost-amended, moderately acidic, high-metal content mine tailings using an irrigation-based reclamation strategy was examined along with its influence on the rhizosphere bacterial community. Sp6 inoculation resulted in a significant (2.2-fold) increase in plant biomass production. The data suggest that the inoculum successfully colonized the root surface and persisted throughout the 60-day experiment in both the rhizosphere, as demonstrated by excision and sequencing of the appropriate denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) band, and the rhizoplane, as indicated by fluorescent in situ hybridization of root surfaces. Changes in rhizosphere community structure in response to Sp6 inoculation were evaluated after 15, 30, and 60 days using DGGE analysis of 16S rRNA polymerase chain reaction amplicons. A comparison of DGGE profiles using canonical correspondence analysis revealed a significant treatment effect (Sp6-inoculated vs. uninoculated plants vs. unplanted) on bacterial community structure at 15, 30, and 60 days (p < 0.05). These data indicate that in an extremely stressed environment such as acid mine tailings, an inoculated plant growth promoting bacterium not only can persist and stimulate plant growth but also can directly or indirectly influence rhizobacterial community development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-927
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science

Cite this