[en] Since the ‘80s, when the concept of phytoremediation first appeared, a lot of research has been put into studying the efficiency of woody plants in metal extraction. Willows, as fast growing plants and because of their tolerance to difficult edaphic conditions, have been particularly well investigated. In this investigation, the essays were done on Salix clones, which come from a Walloon collection provided by ECOLIRI and ECOLIRIMED projects. The first objective was to study the potential of these local clones by considering not only their ability to extract their pollutants, but also by adding their biomass production to this parameter. We have called the study of these criteria the phenotypic approach to the tolerance of Salix clones to metals. The second added value of this investigation lies in
the second objective which aims to complete these phenotypic criteria with physiological and
proteomic criteria. These last criteria are often used to study the metal tolerance of plant species, but rarely for willows. The combination of these different approaches gives a expand view of metal tolerance in Salix clones studied in this investigation. As the phenotypical parameters help to answer the extraction ability challenge, the physiological and proteomic approaches give answers linked to the “health” of the willow trees when they grow in the presence of metals. Our results indicate that the clones that produced more biomass were the ones that showed the highest metal concentrations. The clones with lower biomass production showed the same tolerance as the highest producers and our results revealed that growth reduction indicates metal tolerance. Finally, after comparing our results of the metal concentrations obtained in the twigs, to results obtained during the last two decades of
research papers, we have concluded that we should reconsider the use of Salix potential in
phytoextraction. The first chapter of this investigation was about Salix clones exposed to metals, but, in natural conditions, their roots are colonized by fungi. Thus, their rhizosphere constitutes a separate ecosystem, which is interesting to investigate. The rhizospheric fungi, the first interface between roots and soil pollutants, play an important role in metal tolerance in woody plants. For this reason, the second chapter of this thesis aimed to test the in vitro growth of rhizospheric fungi collected on woody plant roots in the presence of cadmium. The outcome of these essays is that fungal strains have been identified and classified as tolerant to this metal. This chapter thus constitutes a first step in a future study aiming to analyze these strains in association with woody plant roots in the presence of metals.