Data_Sheet_1_Phytomanagement Reduces Metal Availability and Microbial Metal Resistance in a Metal Contaminated Soil.docx
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Short rotation coppice (SRC) with metal tolerant plants may attenuate the pollution of excessive elements with potential toxicity in soils, while preserving soil resources and functionality. Here, we investigated effects of 6 years phytomanagement with willow SRC on properties including heavy metal levels, toxicity tested by BioTox, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and functional gene abundances measured by GeoChip of soils contaminated by As, Cd, Pb and Zn, as compared to the same soils under non-managed mixed grassland representing no intervention treatment (Unt). Though metal total concentrations did not differ by SRC and Unt, SRC soils had lower metal availability and toxicity, higher organic carbon, microbial biomass, phosphatase, urease and protease activities, as compared to Unt soils. Significantly reduced abundances of genes encoding resistances to various metals and antibiotics were observed in SRC, likely attributed to reduced metal selective pressure based on less heavy metal availability and soil toxicity. SRC also significantly reduced abundances of genes involved in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur cycles, possibly due to the willow induced selection. Overall, while the SRC phytomanagement did not reduce the total heavy metal concentrations in soils, it decreased the heavy metal availability and soil toxicity, which in turn led to less metal selective pressure on microbial communities. The SRC phytomanagement also reduced the abundances of nutrient cycling genes from microbial communities, possibly due to intense plant nutrient uptake that depleted soil nitrogen and phosphorus availability, and thus site-specific practices should be considered to improve the soil nutrient supply for phytomanagement plants.
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