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Mar Environ Res. 2008 Feb;65(1):77-84. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Enzymatic activity in the rhizosphere of Spartina maritima: potential contribution for phytoremediation of metals.

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Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Rua Ernesto de Vasconcelos s/n, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal.


Extracellular enzymatic activity (EEA) of five enzymes (peroxidase, phenol oxidase, beta-glucosidase, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase and acid phosphatase) was analysed in sediments colonised by Spartina maritima in two salt marshes (Rosário and Pancas) of the Tagus estuary (Portugal) with different characteristics such as sediment parameters and metal contaminant levels. Our aim was a better understanding of the influence of the halophyte on microbial activity in the rhizosphere under different site conditions, and its potential consequences for metal cycling and phytoremediation in salt marshes. Acid phosphatase and beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase presented significantly higher EEA in Rosário than in Pancas, whereas the opposite occurred for peroxidase. This was mainly attributed to differences in organic matter between the two sites. A positive correlation between root biomass and EEA of hydrolases (beta-glucosidase, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase and acid phosphatase) was found, indicating a possible influence of the halophyte in sediment microbial function. This would potentially affect metal cycling in the rhizosphere through microbial reactions.

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