Rhizosphere-induced heavy metal(Loid) transformation in relation to bioavailability and remediation

B. Seshadri, N. S. Bolan, R. Naidu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Soil is the sink and source of heavy metals (both geogenic and anthropogenic) and plants are the ecosystem regulators, balancing the chemistry of life on earth. However, roots are the only connection between soil and plants, which are the real engineers of ecosystem dynamics responsible for environmental balance and stability. The plant-soil interface termed as ‘rhizosphere’ is a typical zone of soil where the physical, chemical and biological characteristics are different from bulk soil (outside the rhizosphere region). This is mainly controlled by physiological response from plants to the environmental changes through exudation of chemicals from root region and the cascade of chemical (changes in pH and redox potential, release of anions and nutrient transformation) and biological (microbial association) events that follow. The other adaptive mechanisms include root length and area as affected by temperature, moisture and nutrient content of the soil. In the recent years, advanced technologies have lead to significant findings at the micro-level in rhizosphere research, targeting the role of root-soil interface towards nutrient availability and agricultural productivity. However, with increasing human activities (including agriculture), undesirable quantites of heavy metals are being added to the environment thereby resulting in soil contamination. This review will discuss in detail on the processes involved in the (im)mobilisation of heavy metals in and around the root region as affected by chemical (pH and root exudates) and biological (microorganisms) components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-548
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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