• biochelator-assisted phytoremediation;
  • cadmium;
  • siderophores;
  • Streptomyces tendae F4;
  • α-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase


Aims:  As a toxic metal, cadmium (Cd) affects microbial and plant metabolic processes, thereby potentially reducing the efficiency of microbe or plant-mediated remediation of Cd-polluted soil. The role of siderophores produced by Streptomyces tendae F4 in the uptake of Cd by bacteria and plant was investigated to gain insight into the influence of siderophores on Cd availability to micro-organisms and plants.

Methods and Results:  The bacterium was cultured under siderophore-inducing conditions in the presence of Cd. The kinetics of siderophore production and identification of the siderophores and their metal-bound forms were performed using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy was used to measure iron (Fe) and Cd contents in the bacterium and in sunflower plant grown in Cd-amended soil. Siderophores significantly reduced the Cd uptake by the bacterium, while supplying it with iron. Bacterial culture filtrates containing three hydroxamate siderophores secreted by S. tendae F4 significantly promoted plant growth and enhanced uptake of Cd and Fe by the plant, relative to the control. Furthermore, application of siderophores caused slightly more Cd, but similar Fe uptake, compared with EDTA. Bioinoculation with Streptomyces caused a dramatic increase in plant Fe content, but resulted only in slight increase in plant Cd content.

Conclusion:  It is concluded that siderophores can help reduce toxic metal uptake in bacteria, while simultaneously facilitating the uptake of such metals by plants. Also, EDTA is not superior to hydroxamate siderophores in terms of metal solubilization for plant uptake.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  The study showed that microbial processes could indirectly influence the availability and amount of toxic metals taken up from the rhizosphere of plants. Furthermore, although EDTA is used for chelator-enhanced phytoremediation, microbial siderophores would be ideal for this purpose.