African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5210

Full Length Research Paper

The functional roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in improving growth and tolerance of Vicia faba plants grown in wastewater contaminated soil

Salem M. Al-Amri
Department of Biological sciences, College of Science and Art, Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 August 2013
  •  Published: 30 August 2013


Wastewater contaminated soil poses serious environmental and health problems in Saudi Arabia and requires technological solutions for mitigating potential environmental risks. In spite the efforts of the Agriculture Ministry and agencies of water resources to overcome those problems, they still exist. In this concern, the effects of an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Glomus deserticola Trappe and John) on growth, relative chlorophyll content and some mineral nutrients and heavy metal contents of broad bean (Vicia faba) plants grown in sterilized soil irrigated with different concentrations of wastewater were studied. Application of wastewater significantly reduced growth, chlorophyll content, nutrient contents, and levels of mycorrhizal colonization of bean plants comparing to control untreated plants, mainly at high concentrations. However, the rate of reduction was more pronounced in non-mycorrhizal treated plants. Mycorrhizal broad bean plants had significantly higher biomass, plant heights, leaf area, nutrients content (N, P, K), and relative chlorophyll content compared to those of non-mycorrhizal plants irrigated with or without sewage water. Under sewage water application, the AM colonization had greatly reduced the heavy metal contents (Zn, Co, Mn, Cu) in shoot and root tissues of the broad bean plants as compared to their equivalent non-mycorrhizal plants. This study indicates that growing broad bean plants with AM inoculum can minimize the heavy metals toxicity and increase growth and P uptake. In this regard, the AM fungi have a protective role to the host plants, and thus play important roles in soil contaminant immobilization processes. Therefore, the AM fungi are important in phytoremediation of heavy metals in wastewater contaminated soil.


Key words: Arbuscular mycorrhizal, heavy metals, growth responses, Vicia faba, nutrients content, phytoremediation, wastewater water contaminated soil.


AM, Arbuscular mycorrhizal; EC, electric conductivity; G, glomus; non-AM, non-arbuscular mycorrhizae; MD, mycorrhizal dependency; Ti, tolerance index;DWT, dry weight.