African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5230


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and heavy metal contaminated soils

Akbar Karimi1, Habib Khodaverdiloo1*, Mozhgan Sepehri2 and Mirhassan Rasouli Sadaghiani1
1Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Urmia 57135-165, Iran. 2Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 84156-83111, Iran.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 June 2011
  •  Published: 04 July 2011


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) associations are integral, functioning parts of plant roots and are widely recognized as enhancing plant growth on severely disturbed sites, including those contaminated with heavy metals (HMs). They are reported to be present on the roots of plants growing on HM-contaminated soils and play an important role in metal tolerance and accumulation. Isolation of the indigenous and presumably stress-adapted AMF can be a potential biotechnological tool for inoculation of plants for successful restoration of degraded ecosystems. Plants grown in metal contaminated sites harbour unique metal tolerant and resistant microbial communities in their rhizosphere. These rhizo-microflora secrete plant growth-promoting substances, siderophores, phytochelators to alleviate metal toxicity, enhance the bioavailability of metals (phytoremediation) and complexation of metals (phytostabilisation). Most studies of HM toxicity to soil microorganisms have concentrated on effect where loss of microbial function can be observed and the effects on biodiversity within microbial populations and communities have not significantly been evaluated. This review highlights the interaction between HM-contaminated soils and AMF.


Key words: Activity, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, biodiversity, functionality, heavy metal, soil contamination.