There is currently a large amount of research being done into the phytoremediation of polluted soils. Plant installation in contaminated soils may require the application of soil amendments, such as biochar, compost and/or iron grit, which can improve the soil conditions and reduce the metal (loid) phytoavailability and mobility. The beneficial effects of these amendments on soil properties, plant growth and metal (loid) accumulation ability have already been described, although their effect on the plants response machinery has been poorly studied. This study aimed to assess the effect of these amendments on Salix viminalis growth and metal (loid) accumulation, as well as elucidating associated molecular mechanisms. The results showed that the amendment applications improved plant growth by three fold, except for the biochar plus iron combination. It also revealed that metal (loid)s were not effectively translocated from the roots to the shoots (translocation factors <1), their bioaccumulation peaked in the roots, and increased in the presence of iron-based amendments. Corresponding proteomic profiles revealed 34 protein spots differentially represented and suggested that plants counteracted metal (loid)-induced oxidative stress after the addition of biochar and/or compost by eliciting proper defense and signaling pathways, and by redirecting the metabolic fluxes towards primary and secondary metabolism. However, they did highlight the occurrence of oxidative stress markers when the biochar plus iron amendment was applied, which could be both the cause and result of protein degradation impairment.
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