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The impact of microbial activity and trace metal speciation in the rhizosphere on metal uptake by plants

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Title: The impact of microbial activity and trace metal speciation in the rhizosphere on metal uptake by plants
Author: Sauve, Sebastien; Hendershot, William; Macfie, Sheila; Berkelaar, Edward; Courchesne, Francois
Abstract: Understanding the processes that regulate the solubility of trace metals in soils, their uptake by plants and their transport towards waters bodies is a key societal challenge because this knowledge is vital to insure the sustained development of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and to prevent health hazards to humans. Due to its proximity to a site of elemental uptake by plants, the rhizosphere represents a critical component of all soil-plant systems and recent studies indicate that the extent of the functional role of the rhizosphere on the biogeochemical cycling of metals is much larger than the volume fraction it occupies in soils. In this context, our primary goal is to investigate the functional relationships existing trace metal speciation in the rhizosphere, microbial activity and the uptake of metal by edible plants. The scientific approach is based on a combination of field work, growth-chamber experiments and microscale investigations aimed at: 1) contrasting the microbiological properties and chemical speciation of metals between the rhizosphere and the bulk components of soils, 2) establishing the processes linking microbial activity to the liquidphase speciation of trace metals and 3)quantifying the interactions between metal speciation in soils and their accumulation in edible plants. These relationships will be examined for selected edible plants and a range of urban soils by measuring the speciation of dissolved metals in soils, the microbial biomass and activity, and the solid phase fractionation of metals using Synchroton-based techniques.
Description: S4. Prinicpal investigator: Francois Courchesne
Date: 2010-04-30

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