|Abstract: ||A prolonged contamination of soils with heavy metals has led to development of plant species, metallophytes, specifically adjusted towards survival in these harsh conditions. Plants provide a nutrient-rich niche in soil. These nutrients serve as substrates for bacteria and fungi, which leads to higher microbial counts and higher microbial activity near the roots. However, the physico-chemical soil parameters, such as increased heavy metal concentration, may alter the processes governing plan-microbe associations, including the main drivers of microbial diversity in the rhizosphere of plants, such as metallophytes.
In this work, the microbial counts, activity as well as structural, functional and genetic biodiversity of the rhizosphere microbial communities associated with Arabidopsis arenosa, Arabidopsis halleri, Deschampsia caespitosa, Silene vulgaris, along with the bulk soil obtained from the three selected sites in Upper Silesia, heavily contaminated with zinc and cadmium, were studied.
The results obtained for biological traits were correlated against the physico-chemical soil parameters in order to define the key features accounting for the microbial diversity. The results show, that both plant species and physico-chemical soil parameters, such as zinc and cadmium concentration, pH, water content and organic matter content, significantly impact individual aspects of microbial diversity. However, depending on the specific arrangement of biotic and abiotic factors, the role of individual soil- or plant-derived features in the determination of microbial traits may vary.|