Density, metabolic activity, and identity of cultivable rhizosphere bacteria on Salix viminalis in disturbed arable and landfill soils
The objective of this study was to provide fundamental data for a subsequent selection of willow growth and soil remediation promoting bacterial strains. The rhizosphere of willows (Salix viminalis) was screened for cultivable bacteria with high enzymatic activity (proteolytic, pectolytic, cellulolytic, amylolytic) and production of siderophores at four test sites with broad spectrum of anthropogenic soil disturbance: sewage-sludge application, impoverishment by unfavorable arable use, ash dumping, and household-waste depositing. The density of bacteria in the rhizosphere ranged from 7.92 to 8.56 log10 of colony-forming units per gram dry weight of soil and varied in a site- and willow-clone-specific manner. Within the 240 bacterial strains, a high diversity of metabolic activities was observed but was rarely combined in one strain (1.2% having six and 5.8% having five out of seven metabolic activities, respectively). The majority of strains (79.2%) revealed just one or two metabolic activities. Most common was a combination of lipolytic, proteolytic activities, and siderophore production as found in 13.8% of the bacterial strains. The 50 strains with the highest metabolic activity belonged predominantly to the Gammaproteobacteria (66%), the others to Flavobacteria (18%), Betaproteobacteria (8%), Actinobacteria (4%), and Bacilli (4%). The highest portion of cultivable strains of rhizosphere bacteria with high metabolic activities belonged to the genera Pseudomonas, Serratia, and Flavobacterium. We hypothesize that these genera include strains that support willow growth and soil remediation. Therefore, the described strain collection from the rhizosphere of S. viminalis provides a valuable basis for a subsequent selection of these candidates for applications in improvement of site adaptation of plants or remediation of soils.