Phytoextraction of toxic metals by sunflower and corn plants

Soudek P., Petrová Š., Benešová D., Vaněk T.

Keywords: toxic metals, lead, zinc, phytoextraction, Helianthus annuus, Zea mays
Abstract: Phytoremediation of soils heavily polluted by Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn was performed under semi-laboratory conditions (flowerpot experiments) and small-scale field experiments. Zea mays and Helianthus annuus plants were cultivated on two types of contaminated soils from industrial area Holýšov during three vegetation periods. Significant accumulation of Cd, Cr, Pb and Zn was observed in all plants grown on contaminated soils; roots, stems, stalks and seeds being analyzed separately. The amount of the toxic metals was 10 to 100 times higher than in control plants, especially in the roots. Corn plants were able to accumulate about 200 mg kg-1 DW of lead and 5500 mg kg-1 DW of zinc. In case of copper, no significant elevation of accumulation was found (43 mg kg-1 DW in sunflower on contaminated soil and 31 mg kg-1 DW in control soil, respectively). The results of our experiments confirmed that not only accumulated metal content but also biomass production and characterization of which includes the quality and quantity of contaminants phytoextraction potential of the individual plant species are important. That’s why small-scale experiments should be the initial step in finding of the best conditions for the phytoextraction/phytostabilization of the given locality.
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IEB authors: Šárka Petrová, Petr Soudek, Tomáš Vaněk