The microbial community from the early-plant colonizer (Baccharis linearis) is required for plant establishment on copper mine tailings

María Consuelo Gazitúa, Verónica Morgante, María Josefina Poupin, Thomas Ledger, Gustavo Rodríguez-Valdecantos, Catalina Herrera, María del Carmen González-Chávez, Rosanna Ginocchio, Bernardo González

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9 Scopus citations


Plants must deal with harsh environmental conditions when colonizing abandoned copper mine tailings. We hypothesized that the presence of a native microbial community can improve the colonization of the pioneer plant, Baccharis linearis, in soils from copper mining tailings. Plant growth and microbial community compositions and dynamics were determined in cultivation pots containing material from two abandoned copper mining tailings (Huana and Tambillos) and compared with pots containing fresh tailings or surrounding agricultural soil. Controls without plants or using irradiated microbe-free substrates, were also performed. Results indicated that bacteria (Actinobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Firmicutes groups) and fungi (Glomus genus) are associated with B. linearis and may support plant acclimation, since growth parameters decreased in both irradiated (transiently without microbial community) and fresh tailing substrates (with a significantly different microbial community). Consistently, the composition of the bacterial community from abandoned copper mining tailings was more impacted by plant establishment than by differences in the physicochemical properties of the substrates. Bacteria located at B. linearis rhizoplane were clearly the most distinct bacterial community compared with those of fresh tailings, surrounding soil and non-rhizosphere abandoned tailings substrates. Beta diversity analyses showed that the rhizoplane bacterial community changed mainly through species replacement (turnover) than species loss (nestedness). In contrast, location/geographical conditions were more relevant than interaction with the plants, to explain fungal community differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10448
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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