Rhizodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is a product of complex interactions between plant and bacteria. In this study, hydroponic culture of sudangrass was established in order to investigate the effects of the plant on PAHs degradation and vice versa through changes in rhizosphere bacterial community. Results showed a plant-induced variability in PAHs degradation dependent on a characteristic shift in bacterial community, with pH and plant age as driving factors. Moreover, bacterial communities with high diversity seemed to abate the phytotoxic effects of PAHs degradation as observed in the plant's gross health. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and next-generation sequencing revealed that regardless of plant age and culture conditions, the increase or decrease of Sphingobium sp. could dictate the PAHs degradation potential of the bacterial consortium. Overall, this study utilized hydroponic culture of sudangrass to show that plant even of same species can suppress, support, or enhance PAHs degradation of bacteria depending on specific factors.
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