Toxic metals revealed to be absorbed by mycorrhizal fungi at plant roots


Jan Borovička and his co-workers have published a study on the accumulation of toxic metals and other elements in ectomycorrhizal roots of Norway spruce (Environmental Pollution, Impact Factor: 4.839). Their research was conducted in the Příbram area, subjected to long-lasting man-induced pollution from ore mining and processing. When compared to non-mycorrhizal tiny spruce roots and organic soils, concentrations of metals (cadmium and silver in particular) were significantly elevated in ectomycorrhizal roots. This phenomenon can be attributed to metal-binding capacity of fungal mycelia. These results support the hypothesis that mycorrhizal fungi may protect host plants against heavy metal toxicity in polluted environments.