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The Symbiosis between <em>Frankia alni</em> and Alder Shrubs Results in a Tolerance of the Environmental Stress Associated With Tailings from the Canadian Oil Sands Industry | Abstract

Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology
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Research Article

The Symbiosis between Frankia alni and Alder Shrubs Results in a Tolerance of the Environmental Stress Associated With Tailings from the Canadian Oil Sands Industry

Mallet PL and Roy S*
Centre d’étude et de valorisation de la diversité microbienne, Centre SÈVE, Département de biologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada.
Corresponding Author : Roy S
Department of Biology, University in Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke, Canada
Tel: +819-821-8000 ext. 62505
Fax: 819-821-8049
E-mail: [email protected]
Received May 30, 2014; Accepted July 23, 2014; Published July 30, 2014
Citation: Mallet PL, Roy S (2014) The Symbiosis between Frankia alni and Alder Shrubs Results in a Tolerance of the Environmental Stress Associated With Tailings from the Canadian Oil Sands Industry. J Pet Environ Biotechnol 5:180. doi:10.4172/2157-7463.1000180
Copyright: © 2014 Mallet PL, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Alders are well recognized for their ability to colonize the harsh environments created by either natural processes or human activity. They establish symbiosis with the actinomycete Frankia which supplies 70 to 100 % of the plant’s nitrogen requirements. An important challenge facing the oil sands industry in Alberta, Canada, is management of the toxicity of Tailing Sands (TS) that are alkaline, saline and contain Naphthenic Acids (NA).In order to begin to understand how alders, Frankia and their symbiosis perform and adapt to these challenging environmental conditions, the tolerance of the microsymbiont (Frankia), the host plants (alders) and their symbiosis to specific compounds found in TS was studied. In addition, the metabolic response of Frankiaalni ACN14a to the presence of NA was characterized. The Frankia strains tested tolerated both high pH and NA levels in addition to salts near or at the concentrations found in TS. Furthermore, actinorhizal symbiosis can establish itself under these conditions. NaCl was observed to exert the greatest stress on the establishment of symbiosis, decreasing the efficiency of the actinorhizal symbiosis. Inoculation of the alder plants with Frankia induced a significant increase in aerial biomass allocation. Finally, intracellular proteins in Frankiaalni ACN14a whose expression level were influenced by naphthenic acids were identified. Together, these results demonstrate that actinorhizal alders show significant promise for use in the revegetation of lands affected by the mine tailings of the Canadian petroleum industry.


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