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Transformation and Immobilization of Chromium by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi as Revealed by SEM–EDS, TEM–EDS, and XAFS

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2015, 00:00 authored by Songlin Wu, Xin Zhang, Yuqing Sun, Zhaoxiang Wu, Tao Li, Yajun Hu, Dan Su, Jitao Lv, Gang Li, Zhensong Zhang, Lirong Zheng, Jing Zhang, Baodong Chen
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), ubiquitous soil fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the majority of terrestrial plants, are known to play an important role in plant tolerance to chromium (Cr) contamination. However, the underlying mechanisms, especially the direct influences of AMF on the translocation and transformation of Cr in the soil–plant continuum, are still unresolved. In a two-compartment root-organ cultivation system, the extraradical mycelium (ERM) of mycorrhizal roots was treated with 0.05 mmol L–1 Cr­(VI) for 12 days to investigate the uptake, translocation, and transformation of Cr­(VI) by AMF using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM–EDS), transmission electron microscopy equipped with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (TEM–EDS), and X-ray-absorption fine structure (XAFS) technologies. The results indicated that AMF can immobilize quantities of Cr via reduction of Cr­(VI) to Cr­(III), forming Cr­(III)–phosphate analogues, likely on the fungal surface. Besides this, we also confirmed that the extraradical mycelium (ERM) can actively take up Cr [either in the form of Cr­(VI) or Cr­(III)] and transport Cr [potentially in the form of Cr­(III)-histidine analogues] to mycorrhizal roots but immobilize most of the Cr­(III) in the fungal structures. Based on an X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy analysis of Cr­(VI)-treated roots, we proposed that the intraradical fungal structures can also immobilize Cr within mycorrhizal roots. Our findings confirmed the immobilization of Cr by AMF, which plays an essential role in the Cr­(VI) tolerance of AM symbioses.