Ectomycorrhizal diversity on the roots of Pitch pine (Pinus rigida Mill.) saplings as influenced by remediation and soil metal content

Bertrand D. Eardly, Mara Cloutier, Taejung Chung, Sofia Roitman, Fabricio R. Vieira, Mary Ann V. Bruns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From 1913 to 1980, two zinc smelters in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, emitted large quantities of atmospheric pollutants nearly eliminating forests along a ridge above the town. In 2008, a remediation treatment was applied to the land above one of the smelters that included the planting of several locally adapted plant species. It also included mineral fertilization and mycorrhizal inoculation. One of the species, the Pitch pine (Pinus rigida, Mill.), is a native tree that is both tolerant of metalliferous soils and obligatorily ectomycorrhizal. This report summarizes the results of two observational studies conducted 5 years after the remediation treatment. The first study's objective was to compare ectomycorrhizal communities on treated Pitch pine saplings, with communities on naturally regenerating saplings in an adjacent non-remediated area. The second study's objective was to determine if the composition of the fungal communities on root tips of naturally regenerating Pitch pine saplings differed with distance from the smelters. Fungal community compositions were determined using internal transcribed spacer rRNA sequences. Comparisons of sequences from the remediated and non-remediated sites revealed that communities at the remediated sites had lower taxonomic diversity and were dominated by members of a genus in the remediation inoculant. The results of the smelter-proximity study indicated that although fungal diversity did not differ markedly with distance from the smelters, the relative abundances of some taxa were greater on saplings growing directly above the smelters, where the soils contained highest concentrations of zinc and cadmium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13695
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Ectomycorrhizal diversity on the roots of Pitch pine (Pinus rigida Mill.) saplings as influenced by remediation and soil metal content'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this