Influence of Rhizophagus irregularis inoculation and phosphorus application on growth and arsenic accumulation in maize (Zea mays L.) cultivated on an arsenic-contaminated soil

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 May;22(9):6570-7. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3837-0. Epub 2015 Feb 27.


Southern Tuscany (Italy) is characterized by extensive arsenic (As) anomalies, with concentrations of up to 2000 mg kg soil(-1). Samples from the location of Scarlino, containing about 200 mg kg(-1) of As, were used to study the influence of the inoculation of an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Rhizophagus irregularis, previously known as Glomus intraradices) and of phosphorus (P) application, separately and in combination, on As speciation in the rhizosphere of Zea mays on plant growth and As accumulation. Also, P distribution in plant parts was investigated. Each treatment produced a moderate rise of As(III) in the rhizosphere, increased As(III) and lowered As(V) concentration in shoots. P treatment, alone or in combination with AM, augmented the plant biomass. The treatments did not affect total As concentration in the shoots (with all the values <1 mg kg(-1) dry weight), while in the roots it was lowered by P treatment alone. Such decrease was probably a consequence of the competition between P and As(V) for the same transport systems, interestingly nullified by the combination with AM treatment. P concentration was higher with AM only in both shoots and roots. Therefore, the obtained results can be extremely encouraging for maize cultivation on a marginal land, like the one studied.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Biomass
  • Glomeromycota / growth & development*
  • Italy
  • Mycorrhizae / growth & development*
  • Phosphorus / chemistry*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / microbiology
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis
  • Soil Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Zea mays / growth & development*
  • Zea mays / metabolism
  • Zea mays / microbiology


  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Phosphorus
  • Arsenic