A possible role for rhizobacteria in water treatment by plant roots

David E. Salt, Nicole Benhamou, Magdalena Leszczyniecka, Ilya Raskin, Ilan Chef

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38 Scopus citations


By accumulating Cd from solution, roots of hydroponically grown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.), a high biomass crop plant, were able to cause substantial reductions in the concentration of Cd in solution. The removal of Cd from solution was linearly correlated with Cd accumulation by roots. Screening of 300 different rhizobacterial isolates identified several that, when inoculated onto roots of Indian mustard, significantly enhanced the total amount of Cd removed from solution. Further investigations revealed that this enhancement was because of an overall increase in root biomass in the rhizobacterial-treated plants. Rhizobacteria were found to accumulate Cd from solution, and ultrastructural observations suggested that rhizobacteria promote the precipitation of Cd on the root surface. By precipitating Cd at the root surface, rhizobacteria reduce the amount of Cd taken up into roots, thereby protecting the plants, and in particular the roots, from the toxic effects of Cd. This reduced Cd toxicity allows for the increased proliferation of roots observed when plants are inoculated with certain rhizobacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science


  • Cadmium
  • Indian mustard
  • Phytoprotectants
  • Phytoremediation
  • Rhizobacteria
  • Rhizofiltration


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