This task will be implemented on year 1 of the project. Pot experiments will be performed in controlled conditions to assess the influence of two “Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi” (AMF) strains (Funneliformis mosseae and Rhizofagus irregularis) on the growth and metal accumulation of a plant community cultivated onto primary slags. The plant assemblage will be made of five species (Medicago sativa, Melilotus officinalis, Bromus erectus, Festuca arundinacea and Achillea millefolium), chosen from the results of the PHYSAFIMM program. Likewise, slags will be fertilized using composted sludge according to the recommendations from the PHYSAFIMM project.
Each pot will be equipped with Rhizon samplers, in order to collect soil water at weekly intervals. After a three month growing period, plants will be harvested and root and shoot biomass (fresh and dry weighs) will be determined. Additionally, root and shoot metal contents will be determined. This experimental setup will answer the following questions:
- Does AMF inoculation improve plant growth on metallurgical slags?
- Does AMF inoculation decrease metal content in the soil solution?
- Does AMF inoculation decrease metal accumulation by plants?