Naturally occurring radionuclide and heavy metal accumulation via arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and isolation and identification of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from South Terras mine

  • Jeanette Rosas Moreno

Student thesis: Phd


Phytoremediation of highly polluted environments by mining activities represents a promising tool to manage sites impacted by human activities. Research in the field has shown that microbes interacting with plants in such environments play a major role in toxic elements mobilisation as well as in conferring plant tolerance. In this study, the focus was on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. The aim was to investigate their role in the transfer and partitioning of non-essential elements such as 238U, 232Th, Pb and As; as well as to investigate if different AM fungal cultures (Rhizhophagus irregularis, Funneliformis mosseae BEG12, Acaulospora longula BEG8, Scutellospora calospora BEG245) from non-polluted environments had a different effect in elemental uptake by Plantago lanceolata. Additionally, part of the work described in this thesis corresponds to the trapping of AM fungal cultures native to a stie with increased levels of naturally occurring radionuclides as well as toxic elements associated to uranium mining activities in the abandoned South Terras mine. The cultures obtained were analysed by molecular methods and identified as: Rhizophagus irregularis, Septoglomus constrictum, Paraglomus laccatum and Claroideoglomus claroideum. The outcomes from this thesis will allow to carry out work in the future by providing cultures from the abandoned South Terras mine which is a contribution to the existing AM fungal material, since most of the cultures from polluted environments, do not include from sites with increased levels of natural radioactivity. The results of this thesis contribute to the knowledge of the complex processes occurring in TENORM (Technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material) environments. Moreover, the data collected can contribute to the development of phytoremediation strategies and can also be part of modelling efforts to understand the mobilisation and fait of potentially toxic elements.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorClare Robinson (Supervisor) & Jon Pittman (Supervisor)


  • Plantago lanceolata
  • uranium
  • thorium
  • lead
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • radionuclides
  • arsenic

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