Diversity of metallophytes and metal(loid)-tolerant bacterial strains in a portuguese mine for phytotechnologies purposes

A. S. S. Sousa*, S. I. A. Pereira, H. Moreira, J. Cunha, C. Vila-Viçosa, P. M. L. Castro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract



Soil contamination with metal(loid)s due to anthropogenic activities, such as mining, is a worldwide issue that affects ecosystem functioning and human health. Efforts are currently made to restore these soils through sustainable and economically strategies. Phytotechnologies stand out as reliable and ecologically sound options, focusing on the use of plants and their associated microorganisms to reclaim contaminated lands and decrease pollutant linkages. These options can also provide economic revenues, integrating soil restoration into the circular economy concept. Mining areas host metallophytes, either excluders or (hyper)accumulators, and plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB), adapted to high concentrations of metal(loid)s, that can be used in phytoremediation strategies. The Borralha mine is a deactivated tungsten producer located in the northern Portugal, in which the ending of mineral extraction left several open-air tailings highly contaminated with metal(loid)s, such as Cu, Zn, Cd, As and Pb. This study aimed to assess the most abundant metallophytes and characterize the culturable bacterial community present in Borralha mine tailings for biotechnological purposes. Plant biodiversity was assessed over 1 year period, covering the different seasons. Based on plant taxonomy, a total of 14 plant species were identified, with some species (e.g., Agrostis capillaris, Cytisus striatus, Erica arborea, Pinus pinaster, Rubus ulmifolius, Salix caprea and Sedum arenarium) showing potential to be used in remediation strategies. For soil bacteria characterization, a composite soil sample was collected from vegetated and non-vegetated areas in the tailing zone. A total of 65 bacterial isolates were isolated and characterized genotypically and phenotypically (e.g. metal tolerance and plant growth promoting traits). Several bacterial strains showed potential to be used as bioinoculants in assisted- phytoremediation approaches
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
EventMICROBIOTEC'21: Microbiology and Biotechnology Congress - Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 23 Nov 202126 Nov 2021


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