Studies were conducted to investigate the interactions among rhizosphere microorganisms, plaque formation, and metal accumulation in reeds [Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.] grown in an acid mine drainage–contaminated field. We found that Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria (Fe(II)OB] played a key role in Fe plaque formation and pH decrease. The kinetics of Fe plaque formation were related to the abundance of rhizosphere Fe(II)OB, which mediated 66.0 to 93.3% Fe(II) oxidation. The Fe(II) concentration decreased from 14.24 to 0.94 mg L−1 in nonsterile samples, with the most abundant Fe(II)OB activity (5.64 ± 3.83 × 105 colony-forming units g−1) after 2 d, and pH decreased from 2.91 to 2.50. The amount of metal plaque was also positively correlated with metal levels in soil. No significant correlations were found between Fe, Mn, and Al concentration in the plaque. Reeds sequestered Al in the aboveground tissues, and Mn and Al were stored in the roots and rhizomes. Metal plaque did not affect the Mn uptake but inhibited the translocation of Fe and Al in reeds. To increase the phytoremediation efficiency of Fe, Mn, and Al from the acid mine drainage–contaminated site, further research may be needed to inhibit the Fe(II)OB growth and reduce the metal plaque formation, thereby increasing the metal accumulation in reeds.
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