Evaluation of the environmental plasticity in the xerohalophyte Zygophyllum fabago L. for the phytomanagement of mine tailings in semiarid areas

  • I. Párraga-Aguado /
  • M. N. González-Alcaraz /
  • A. López-Orenes /
  • M. A. Ferrer-Ayala /
  • H. M. Conesa
Journal ar
  • Volumen: 161
  • Fecha: 01 October 2016
  • Páginas: 259-265
  • ISSN: 18791298 00456535
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.07.024
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Phytomanagement by phytostabilisation of metal(loid)-enriched mine tailings in semiarid areas has been proposed as a suitable technique to promote a self-sustainable vegetal cover for decreasing the spread of polluted particles by erosion. The goal of this work was to evaluate the contribution of a pioneer plant species (Zygophyllum fabago) in ameliorating the soil conditions at two mine tailings piles located in a semiarid area in Southeast Spain. The ecophysiological performance of this plant species compared to a control population was assessed by analysing the nutritional and ecophysiological status. The presence of Z. fabago in mine tailings enhanced the soil microbial activity and increased the content of soil organic carbon within the rhizosphere (approx. 50% increasing). Metal(loid) concentrations in the tailings may play a minor role in the establishment of Z. fabago plants due to the low metal(loid) availability in the tailings (low CaCl2-extractable concentrations) and low uptake in the plants (e.g. up to 300 mg kg¿1 Zn in leaves). The lower ¿13C and ¿13O in the plants sampled at both tailings compared to the control ones may indicate softer stomatal regulation in relation to the control site plants and therefore lower WUE. The Z. fabago plants may skip some energy-demanding mechanisms such as stomatal control and/or proline synthesis to overcome the environmental stresses posed at the tailings. The Z. fabago plants revealed high plasticity of the species for adapting to the low fertility soil conditions of the tailings and to overcome constraints associated to the dry season.

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