Pteris vittata and Pteris multifida are widely studied As hyperaccumulators that absorb As mainly via roots. Hence, rhizobacteria exhibit promising potential in phytoextraction owing to their immense microbial diversity and interactions with plants. Pseudomonas vancouverensis strain m318 that contains aioA-like genes was screened from P. multifida's rhizosphere through the high As resistance (minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against As(III): 16 mM; MICs against As(V): 320 mM), rapid As oxidation (98% oxidation by bacterial cultures (OD600nm = 1) from 200 μL of 0.1 mM As(III) within 24 h), predominant secretion of IAA (12.45 mg L−1) and siderophores (siderophore unit: 88%). Strain m318 showed significant chemotactic response and high colonization efficiency to P. vittata roots, which suggested its wide host affinity. Interestingly, inoculation with strain m318 enhanced the proportion of aioA-like genes in the rhizosphere. And in field trials, inoculation with strain m318 increased As accumulation in P. vittata by 48–146% and in P. multifida by 42–233%. Post-transplantation inoculations also increased As accumulation in both ferns. The abilities of the isolated multifunctional strain m318 and the increase in the rhizosphere microbial aioA-like genes are thus speculated to be involved in As transformation in the rhizospheres and roots of P. vittata and P. multifida.
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