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The potential of Thlaspi caerulescens for phytoremediation of contaminated soils

Brett H. Robinson, Marc Leblanc, Daniel Petit, Robert R. Brooks, John H. Kirkman and Paul E.H. Gregg
Plant and Soil
Vol. 203, No. 1 (June (I) 1998), pp. 47-56
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42949851
Page Count: 10
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The potential of Thlaspi caerulescens for phytoremediation of contaminated soils
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Abstract

Uptake of Cd, Zn, Pb and Mn by the hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens was studied by pot trials in plant growth units and in populations of wild plants growing over Pb/Zn base-metal mine wastes at Les Malines in the south of France. The pot trials utilised metal-contaminated soils from Auby in the Lille area. Zinc and Cd concentrations in wild plants averaged 1.16% and 0.16% (dry weight) respectively. The unfertilised biomass of the plants was 2.6 t/ha. A single fertilised crop with the above metal content could remove 60 kg of Zn and 8.4 kg Cd per hectare. Experiments with pot-grown and wild plants showed that metal concentrations (dry weight basis) were up to 1% Zn (4% Zn in the soil) and just over 0.1% Cd (0.02% Cd in the soil). The metal content of the plants was correlated strongly with the plant-available fraction in the soils as measured by extraction with ammonium acetate and was inversely correlated with pH. Bioaccumulation coefficients (plant/soil metal concentration quotients) were in general higher for Cd than for Zn except at low metal concentrations in the soil. There was a tendency for these coefficients to increase with decreasing metal concentrations in the soil. It is proposed that phytoremediation using Thlaspi caerulescens would be entirely feasible for low levels of Cd where only a single crop would be needed to halve a Cd content of 10 µg/g in the soil. It will never be possible to remediate elevated Zn concentrations within an economic time frame (<10 yr) because of the lower bioaccumulation coefficient for this element coupled with the much higher Zn content of the soils.

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