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Blacksburg, VA, United States

Dias L.E.,Federal University of Vicosa | Melo R.F.,EMBRAPA - Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria | de Mello J.W.V.,Federal University of Vicosa | Oliveira J.A.,Federal University of Vicosa | Daniels W.L.,Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental science
Revista Brasileira de Ciencia do Solo | Year: 2010

Phytoremediation strategies utilize plants to decontaminate or immobilize soil pollutants. Among soil pollutants, metalloid As is considered a primary concern as a toxic element to organisms. Arsenic concentrations in the soil result from anthropogenic activities such as: the use of pesticides (herbicides and fungicides); some fertilizers; Au, Pb, Cu and Ni mining; Fe and steel production; coal combustion; and as a bi-product during natural gas extraction. This study evaluated the potential of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), wand riverhemp (Sesbania virgata), and lead tree (Leucaena leucocephala) as phytoremediators of soils polluted by As. Soil samples were placed in plastic pots, incubated with different As doses (0; 50; 100 and 200 mg dm -3) and then sown with seeds of the three species. Thirty (pigeon pea) and 90 days after sowing, the plants were evaluated for height, collar diameter and dry matter of young, intermediate and basal leaves, stems and roots. Arsenic concentration was determined in different aged leaves, stems and roots to establish the translocation index (TI) between the plant root system and aerial plant components and the bioconcentration factors (BF). The evaluated species showed distinct characteristics regarding As tolerance, since the lead tree and wand riverhemp were significantly more tolerant than pigeon pea. The high As levels found in wand riverhemp roots suggest the existence of an efficient accumulation and compartmentalization mechanism in order to reduce As translocation to shoot tissues. Pigeon pea is a sensitive species and could serve as a potential bioindicator plant, whereas the other two species have potential for phytoremediation programs in As polluted areas. However, further studies are needed with longer exposure times in actual field conditions to reach definite conclusions on relative phytoremediation potentials. Source

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