Use of a lux-marked rhizobacterium as a biosensor to assess changes in rhizosphere C flow due to pollutant stress

F Porteous, K Killham, A Meharg

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The flow of carbon from plant roots into soil supports a range of microbial processes and is therefore critical to ecosystem function and health. Pollution-induced stress, which influences rhizosphere C flow is of considerable potential importance, and therefore needs to be evaluated. This paper reports on a method, based on reporter gene technology, for quantifying pollutant effects on rhizosphere C flow. The method uses the lux-marked rhizobacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens, where bioluminescence output of this biosensor is directly correlated with the metabolic activity and reports on C flow in root exudate. Plantago lanceolata was treated with paraquat (representing a model pollutant stress) in a simple microcosm system. The lux-biosensor response correlated closely with C concentrations in the exudate and demonstrated that the pollutant stress increased the C flow from the plantago roots, 24 h after application of the herbicide, The lux-reporter system therefore potentially offers a technique for use in assessing the impact of pollutant stress on rhizosphere C flow through the soil microbial biomass. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1554
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • bioluminescence
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • rhizosphere C flow
  • Plantago lanceolata
  • paraquat
  • SOIL
  • CELL

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