Siebielec S., Siebielec G., Sugier P., Woźniak M., Grządziel J., Gałązka A., Stuczyński T. (2020): Activity and Diversity of Microorganisms in Root Zone of Plant Species Spontaneously Inhabiting Smelter Waste Piles. Molecules, 25(23), 5638 (100 pkt. MNiSW; IF = 3.267)
The aim was to assess plant driven changes in the activity and diversity of microorganisms in the top layer of the zinc and lead smelter waste piles. The study sites comprised two types (flotation waste—FW and slag waste—SW) of smelter waste deposits in Piekary Slaskie, Poland. Cadmium, zinc, lead, and arsenic contents in these technosols were extremely high. The root zone of 8 spontaneous plant species (FW—Thymus serpyllum, Silene vulgaris, Solidago virgaurea, Echium vulgare, and Rumex acetosa; and SW—Verbascum thapsus; Solidago gigantea, Eupatorium cannabinum) and barren areas of each waste deposit were sampled. We observed a significant difference in microbial characteristics attributed to different plant species. The enzymatic activity was mostly driven by plant-microbial interactions and it was significantly greater in soil affected by plants than in bulk soil. Furthermore, as it was revealed by BIOLOG Ecoplate analysis, microorganisms inhabiting barren areas of the waste piles rely on significantly different sources of carbon than those found in the zone affected by spontaneous plants. Among phyla, Actinobacteriota were the most abundant, contributing to at least 25% of the total abundance. Bacteria belonging to Blastococcus genera were the most abundant with the substantial contribution of Nocardioides and Pseudonocardia, especially in the root zone. The contribution of unclassified bacteria was high—up to 38% of the total abundance. This demonstrates the unique character of bacterial communities in the smelter waste.