Effect of Novosphingobium sp. CuT1 inoculation on the rhizoremediation of heavy metal- and diesel-contaminated soil planted with tall fescue

Soo Yeon Lee, Yun Yeong Lee, Kyung Suk Cho

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4 Scopus citations


Rhizoremediation is a promising method based on the synergism between plant and rhizobacteria to remediate soil co-contaminated with heavy metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs). A plant growth–promoting (PGP) rhizobacterium with diesel-degrading capacity and heavy metal tolerance was isolated from the rhizosphere of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.), after which the effects of its inoculation on rhizoremediation performance were evaluated in heavy metal– and diesel-contaminated soil planted with tall fescue. The bacterial isolate (Novosphingobium sp. CuT1) was characterized by its indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) production, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase activity, and siderophore productivity as PGP traits. CuT1 was able to grow on 1/10 LB-agar plates containing 5 mM of Cu or 5 mM of Pb. To evaluate the remediation effect of heavy metal– and diesel-contaminated soil by CuT1 inoculation, the experimental conditions were prepared as follows. The soil was artificially contaminated with heavy metals (Cu and Pb) at a final concentration of 500 ppm. The soil was then further contaminated with diesel at final concentrations of 0, 10,000, and 30,000 ppm. Finally, all plots were planted with tall fescue, a representative hyperaccumulating plant. Compared to the rhizoremediation performance of the co-contaminated soil (Cu + Pb + diesel) without inoculation, the bioavailable Cu concentrations in the soil and the tall fescue biomass were significantly increased in CuT1 inoculation. Additionally, the root growth of tall fescue was also promoted in CuT1 inoculation. Correlation analysis showed that Cu bioavailability and bioconcentration factor were positively correlated with CuT1 inoculation. The diesel removal efficiency showed a positive correlation with CuT1 inoculation, although the diesel removal was below 30%. CuT1 inoculation was positively correlated with IAA and dehydrogenase activity in the soil. Moreover, the dry biomass of the tall fescue’s roots was highly associated with CuT1 inoculation. Collectively, our findings suggest that Novosphingobium sp. CuT1 can be utilized as an applicable bioresource to enhance rhizoremediation performance in heavy metal– and TPH-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16612-16625
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2019R1A2C2006701).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Contaminated soil
  • Novosphingobium sp
  • PGPR (plant growth–promoting rhizobacterium)
  • Rhizoremediation
  • Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)


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