Coronilla juncea, a native candidate for phytostabilization of potentially toxic elements and restoration of Mediterranean soils


  • Heckenroth Alma
  • Prudent Pascale
  • Folzer Hélène
  • Rabier Jacques
  • Stéven Criquet
  • Saatkamp Arne
  • Salducci Marie-Dominique
  • Vassalo Laurent
  • Laffont-Schwob Isabelle

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Soil contamination pattern due to industrial activities often leads to high concentrations of potentially toxic elements (PTE) decreasing with depth. This spatial heterogeneity of the soil contamination may have significant consequences on the soil properties and soil living communities. We evaluated the effects of both surface and solum soil contamination heterogeneity on Coronilla juncea L. (Fabaceae) functional traits in field conditions and the phytostabilization potential of this species. Plant and soil samples were collected on 3 sites along a PTE contamination gradient. The correlations between PTE concentration in plant and soil samples at 2 depths, physico-chemical properties of soil, plant biomass and soil microbial activity were tested. Field measurements highlight a decreasing PTE concentration with soil depth in addition to an important surface heterogeneity of As, Cu, Pb, Sb and Zn soil concentrations. Root PTE concentrations in C. juncea did not follow soil PTE concentrations. Concentrations of PTE in the root parts were higher than those of the aerial parts. Low PTE translocation and root symbioses with microorganisms suggest that this native plant species may play a role as engineer species with positive implications for the phytostabilization of Mediterranean PTE contaminated soils and their ecological restoration.

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