Mr LEE Yong Jian
PhD Student

Supervisor: Prof. Sanjay Swarup

Project Title: Quantifying the role of rhizobacteria on the phytoremediation properties of Pandanus amaryllifolius

Pandanus amaryllifolius (pandan) is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine as a flavouring. Recently, it has been found that the plant has a remarkable ability to extract nutrients, in particular nitrates and phosphates, from the liquid medium that it is grown in, thus making it a potential candidate to be used as a solution for eutrophication by planting along contaminated sites to reduce nutrient accumulation. Increasingly, it is believed that phytoremediation properties of plants are mainly due to the root-associated bacteria, known as rhizobacteria. In this study, Yong Jian is investigating the microbial community on the pandan rhizosphere and identifying the role that rhizobacteria play in the process of nutrient uptake by the plant. The rhizobacteria community will be identified, characterised and stable isotope probing will be used to study the uptake and metabolic fate of nitrates by the rhizobacteria. Advanced imaging techniques will be utilised in the experiments to visualise microbial communities. Yong Jian will also investigate how sediments in urban waterways will affect rhizobacteria, since sediments contain the highest abundance of microorganism in the water. Together, these studies will provide a deeper understanding of the ecology and processes of rhizobacteria and the role that they play in phytoremediation.