Author(s): Su Y, Han FX, Sridhar BB, Monts DL
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Abstract A recently recognized hyperaccumulator plant, Chinese brake fern (Pteris vittata), has been found to extract very high concentration of arsenic from arsenic-contaminated soil. Chromium usually is a coexisting contaminant with arsenic in most contaminated soils. The potential application of ferns for phytoremediation of chromium(III)- and chromium(VI)-contaminated soils and their phytotoxicity to ferns has not been studied before. In this study, chromium distribution and phytotoxicity at the plant and cellular levels of brake ferns were studied using chemical analyses and scanning electron microscopy. The results show a higher phytotoxicity of Cr from Cr(VI)-contaminated soil to Chinese brake fern than from Cr(III)-contaminated soil. Phytotoxicity symptoms included significant decreases both in fresh biomass weight and relative water content (RWC), and also in leaf chlorosis during the late stage of growing. At higher concentrations (500 mg/kg Cr[VI] and 1,000 mg/kg Cr[III] addition), plants showed reduction in the number of palisade and spongy parenchyma cells in leaves. Compared with other plant species reported for phytoremediation of Cr(VI)-contaminated soil, brake fern took up and accumulated significant amounts of Cr (up to 1,145 mg/kg in shoots and 5,717 mg/kg in roots) and did not die immediately from phytotoxicity. Our study suggests that Chinese brake fern is a potential candidate for phytoremediation of Cr(VI)-contaminated soils, even though plants showed severe phytotoxic symptoms at higher soil Cr concentrations.
This article was published in Environ Toxicol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development