Rhizophagus Clarus and Phosphorus in Crotalaria juncea: Growth, Glomalin Content and Acid Phosphatase Activity in a Copper-Contaminated Soil
Crotalaria juncea is used as plant cover in grape vineyards in Brazil, which usually present soils with high copper (Cu) levels due to the application of Cu-based phyto-sanitary products. Under this condition an increase growth and cover of C. juncea is needed to improve the phytoremediation processes in those soils. Some alternatives to achieve this condition is the inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which has demonstrated an important increase of plant growth in Cu-contaminated soils at different soil P levels. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of AMF inoculation in soils with high Cu contents on the growth of C. juncea, the acid phosphatase (APase) enzyme activity in plants and soil, and the presence of glomalin under different P supply conditions, as a basis to identify if there is a synergistic interaction between AMF inoculation and P supply on soils with high Cu levels. The experiment was carried under greenhouse conditions in a factorial 3 × 2 design (natural P content, addition of 40 and 100 mg kg-1 P, with and without the inoculation of the AMF Rhizophagus clarus with three replicates) in a soil with high Cu content (60 mg kg-1). The addition of 40 and 100 mg kg-1 P favored plant growth both in the presence and in the absence of AMF. However, when plants were grown in soil with a natural P level, the inoculation with AMF increased by 116 % the shoot biomass, compared to the non-inoculated treatment. Our results showed that the combination of P supply and R. clarus inoculation could be an adequate strategy to reduce Cu phytotoxicity in C. juncea, as it increases plant biomass and modify the APase enzyme activity in the soil and plant. Additionally, glomalin produced by the AMF and accumulated in the soil can decrease the availability of Cu to the plants by means of sequestration beyond the root surface, with a consequent plant protective effect.