Microbe-Assisted Rhizoremediation of Hydrocarbons and Growth Promotion of Chickpea Plants in Petroleum Hydrocarbons-Contaminated Soil
The present work aimed to develop and investigate microbial consortia for petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) detoxification and plant growth improvement in hydrocarbons-contaminated soil. Here, we isolated several bacteria from PHCs-contaminated soils to make bacterial consortia and two of the best consortia were tested in a pot experiment to evaluate their potential for PHCs removal and chickpea growth promotion in PHCs-contaminated soil. Results demonstrated that the PHCs exerted considerable phytotoxic effects on chickpea growth and physiology by causing a 13&ndash;29% and a 12&ndash;43% reduction in agronomic and physiological traits, respectively. However, in the presence of bacterial consortia, the phytotoxicity of PHCs to chickpea plants was minimized, resulting in a 7.0&ndash;24% and a 6.0&ndash;35% increase in agronomic and physiological traits, respectively over un-inoculated controls. Bacterial consortia also boosted nutrient uptake and the antioxidant mechanism of the chickpea. In addition, chickpea plants alone phytoremediated 52% of initial PHCs concentration. The addition of bacterial consortia in the presence of chickpea plants could remove 74&ndash;80% of the initial PHCs concentration in soil. Based on our research findings, we suggest that the use of multi-trait bacterial consortia could be a sustainable and environmentally friendly strategy for PHCs remediation and plant growth promotion in hydrocarbons in contaminated soil.