Mycorrhiza and PGPB modulate maize biomass, nutrient uptake and metabolic pathways in maize grown in mining-impacted soil
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Abiotic stress factors including poor nutrient content and heavy metal contamination in soil, can limit plant growth and productivity. The main goal of our study was to evaluate element uptake, biomass and metabolic responses in maize roots growing in mining-impacted soil with the combination of arbuscular mycorrhiza (My) and plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB/B). Maize plants subjected to PGPB, My and combined treatments showed a significant increase in biomass and uptake of some elements in shoot and root. Metabolite analysis identified 110 compounds that were affected ≥2-fold compared to control, with 69 metabolites upregulated in the My group, 53 metabolites in the My+B group and 47 metabolites in B group. Pathway analysis showed that impact on glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism was common between My and My+B groups, whereas PGPB group showed a unique effect on fatty acid biosynthesis with significant increase in palmitic acid and stearic acid. Differential regulation of some metabolites by mycorrhizal treatment correlated with root biomass while PGPB regulated metabolites correlated with biomass increase in shoot. Overall, the combination of rhizospheric microorganisms used in our study significantly increased maize nutrient uptake and growth relative to control. The changes in metabolic pathways identified during the symbiotic interaction will improve our understanding of mechanisms involved in rhizospheric interactions that are responsible for increased growth and nutrient uptake in crop plants.