Interestingly, antioxidant defences were stimulated in leaves, where the TE accumulation was lower in comparison to that in roots. The retention or immobilization of high amounts of TEs in BTZO 1 is a typical response of several plants, and these mechanisms can be regarded as an important system for protecting against the spread of TEs in the plant, notably by providing protection for the photosynthetic functions (Verkleij and Schat, 1990). The minor lipid peroxidation observed in the roots, despite the higher TE accumulation, may be due to more efficient ROS scavenging processes or to a relatively low level of free TEs, which are mainly immobilized or accumulated/compartmentalized in vacuoles (Dixit et al., 2001).
Our study demonstrated a beneficial contribution of mycorrhizal inoculation on the protection of Miscanthus cultivated in a highly TE-contaminated soil. Mycorrhizal inoculation prevented the onset of oxidative damages in leaves and the alteration of the lipid contents induced by TE contamination. For this reason, adding the substrate with efficient AMF inoculants, although rarely included in restoration practices, is highly recommended for the resettlement of site biodiversity and the overall ecosystem functionality. Practical field trials dedicated to measuring biomass yield will be useful for the selection of the most performant mycorrhizal strains that are suitable for the recovery of TE contaminated agricultural lands.