Plant-bacteria partnership is a promising approach for remediating soil contaminated with organic pollutants. The colonization and metabolic activity of an inoculated microorganism depend not only on environmental conditions but also on the physiological condition of the applied microorganisms. This study assessed the influence of different inoculum pretreatments on survival, gene abundance and catabolic gene expression of an applied strain (Pantoea sp. strain BTRH79) in the rhizosphere of ryegrass vegetated in diesel contaminated soil. Maximum bacterium survival, gene abundance and expression were observed in the soil inoculated with bacterial cells that had been pregrown on complex medium, and hydrocarbon degradation and genotoxicity reduction were also high in this soil. These findings propose that use of complex media for growing plant inocula may enhance bacterial survival and colonization and subsequently the efficiency of pollutant degradation.
Plant-bacteria partnerships have been extensively studied and applied to improve crop yield. In addition to their application in agriculture, a promising field to exploit plant-bacteria partnerships is the remediation of soil and water polluted with hydrocarbons. Application of effective plant-bacteria partnerships for the remediation of hydrocarbons depend mainly on the presence and metabolic activities of plant associated rhizo- and endophytic bacteria possessing specific genes required for the degradation of hydrocarbon pollutants. Plants and their associated bacteria interact with each other whereby plant supplies the bacteria with a special carbon source that stimulates the bacteria to degrade organic contaminants in the soil. In return, plant associated-bacteria can support their host plant to overcome contaminated-induced stress responses, and improve plant growth and development. In addition, plants further get benefits from their associated-bacteria possessing hydrocarbon-degradation potential, leading to enhanced hydrocarbon mineralization and lowering of both phytotoxicity and evapotranspiration of volatile hydrocarbons. A better understanding of plant-bacteria partnerships could be exploited to enhance the remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils in conjunction with sustainable production of non-food crops for biomass and biofuel production.
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