Inoculation of selenium hyperaccumulator Stanleya pinnata and related non-accumulator Stanleya elata with hyperaccumulator rhizosphere fungi—investigation of effects on Se accumulation and speciation



Little is known about how fungi affect elemental accumulation in hyperaccumulators (HAs). Here, two rhizosphere fungi from selenium (Se) HA Stanleya pinnata, Alternaria seleniiphila (A1) and Aspergillus leporis (AS117), were used to inoculate S. pinnata and related non-HA Stanleya elata. Growth and Se and sulfur (S) accumulation were analyzed. Furthermore, X-ray microprobe analysis was used to investigate elemental distribution and speciation. Growth of S. pinnata was not affected by inoculation or by Se. Stanleya elata growth was negatively affected by AS117 and by Se, but combination of both did not reduce growth. Selenium translocation was reduced in inoculated S. pinnata, and inoculation reduced S translocation in both species. Root Se distribution and speciation were not affected by inoculation in either species; both species accumulated mainly (90%) organic Se. Sulfur, in contrast, was present equally in organic and inorganic forms in S. pinnata roots. Thus, these rhizosphere fungi can affect growth and Se and/or S accumulation, depending on host species. They generally enhanced root accumulation and reduced translocation. These effects cannot be attributed to altered plant Se speciation but may involve altered rhizosphere speciation, as these fungi are known to produce elemental Se. Reduced Se translocation may be useful in applications where toxicity to herbivores and movement of Se into the food chain is a concern. The finding that fungal inoculation can enhance root Se accumulation may be useful in Se biofortification or phytoremediation using root crop species.