Author(s): Mellem JJ, Baijnath H, Odhav B
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Abstract Phytoremediation is an emerging technology where specially selected and engineered metal-accumulating plants are used for bioremediation. This study was undertaken to evaluate the potential of Amaranthus dubius for phytoremediation of chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni). Locally gathered soil and plants of A. dubius were investigated for the metals from a regularly cultivated area, a landfill site and a waste water treatment site. Metals were extracted from the samples using microwave-digestion and analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy. The mode of phytoremediation, effect of the metals on the plants, ability of the plant to extract metals from soil (Bioconcentration Factor) and the ability of the plants to move the metals to the aerial parts of the plants (Translocation Factor) were evaluated. The survey of the three sites showed that soils were heavily contaminated with Cr, Hg, Cu and Ni. These levels were far above acceptable standards set for soils and above the standards set for the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Specimens of A. dubius from the three sites showed that they could tolerate Hg, sequester it from the soil, and translocate it to the shoots. Cr could only be removed from the soil and stored in the roots, with limited amounts translocated to the aerial parts. Pb, As, Ni, and Cu have some degree of transportability from the soil to the roots but not to aerial parts. The ability of A. dubius to be considered for phytoremediation has to be viewed with caution because translocation of the metals to the aerial parts of the plant is limited.
This article was published in J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access