Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Phytoremediation of Mercury Polluted Soils in Ghana and Burkina Faso
Sergey Blagodatsky1, Miriam Ehret2, Frank Rasche1, Imke Hutter3, Regina Birner1, Beloved M. Dzomeku4, Oblé Neya5, Georg Cadisch1, Jens Norbert Wünsche6
1University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agric. Sci. in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Germany
Small-scale gold mining in Ghana and Burkina Faso (West Africa) contributes significantly to national economies and people livelihood. This activity causes, however, high environmental risks. Unregulated surface gold mining contributes to deforestation and land degradation in these countries. In addition, illegal mining operators use a technology for gold amalgamation that pollutes the environment with mercury (Hg) and adversely affects human health. The overall objective of the BMBF-funded Mercury-AMF-project is to reduce the environmental damage caused by mercury used in gold mining in Ghana and Burkina Faso. This will be achieved by developing and implementing novel arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) - plant systems as a strategy to reclaim mercury-contaminated sites. The cultivation of pioneer plants on contaminated soils can reduce the mercury pollution. Symbiotic mycorrhizal associations of those plants may strengthen the potential to remediate Hg-contaminated soils.
During the first 6 month of the project soil and plant sampling campaigns were organised for screening the AMF-candidates capable for symbiosis with local plant species and tolerant to the mercury pollution. Clarification of possible mechanisms of phytoremediation is the next essential component of the research: several pathways of decontamination are possible including phytostabilisation, phytovolatilisation and phytoextraction. Based on the first results, field experimental trials with new AMF-plant systems will be established.
Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi-plant systems, gold mining, mercury-contamination, phytoremediation
Contact Address: Jens Norbert Wünsche, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Crop Science, Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: jnwuenscheuni-hohenheim.de