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Phytoremediation of metal contaminated soil using willow: exploiting plant-associated bacteria to improve biomass production and metal uptake.

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


  • Jolien Janssen
  • Nele Weyens
  • Sarah Croes
  • Bram Beckers
  • Robert Carleer
  • Jaco Vangronsveld


Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of phytoremediation
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)1123-1136
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - May-2015


Short rotation coppice (SRC) of willow and poplar is proposed for economic valorization and concurrently as remediation strategy for metal contaminated land in northeast-Belgium. However, metal phytoextraction appears insufficient to effectuate rapid reduction of soil metal contents. To increase both biomass production and metal accumulation of SRC, two strategies are proposed: (i) in situ selection of the best performing clones and (ii) bioaugmentation of these
clones with beneficial plant-associated bacteria. Based on field data, two experimental willow clones, a Salix viminalis and a Salix alba x alba clone, were selected. Compared to the best performing commercial clones, considerable increases in stem metal extraction were achieved (up to 74% for Cd and 91% for Zn). From the selected clones, plant-associated bacteria were isolated and identified. All strains were subsequently screened for their plant growth-promoting and metal uptake enhancing traits. Five strains were selected for a greenhouse inoculation experiment with the selected clones planted in Cd-Zn-Pb contaminated soil. Extraction potential tended to increase after inoculation of S. viminalis plants with a Rahnella sp. strain due to a significantly increased twig biomass. However, although bacterial strains showing beneficial traits in vitro were used for inoculation, increments in extraction potential were not always

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