Main content area

Accumulation and translocation of heavy metal by spontaneous plants growing on multi-metal-contaminated site in the Southeast of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil

Boechat, Cácio Luiz, Pistóia, Vítor Caçula, Gianelo, Clésio, Camargo, Flávio Anastácio de Oliveira
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.3 pp. 2371-2380
Baccharis, Dicranopteris, Hyptis, Senecio, arsenic, barium, biomass, cadmium, copper, heavy metals, human health, hyperaccumulators, lead, nickel, phytoremediation, pollution, rhizosphere, soil, zinc, Brazil
In recent years, the number of cases of heavy metal contamination has increased worldwide, leading to reports on environmental pollution and human health problems. Phytoremediation can be potentially used to remove heavy metal from contaminated sites. This study determined heavy metal concentrations in the biomass of plant species growing on a multi-metal-contaminated site. Seven plant species and associated rhizospheric soil were collected and analyzed for heavy metal concentrations. While plant Cu, Zn, Cd, Ni, Pb, As, and Ba concentrations ranged from 8.8 to 21.1, 56.4 to 514.3, 0.24 to 2.14, 1.56 to 2.76, 67.8 to 188.2, 0.06 to 1.21, and 0.05 to 0.62 mg kg⁻¹, respectively, none of the plants was identified as hyperaccumulators. Those in the rhizospheric soil ranged from 10.5 to 49.1, 86.2 to 590.9, 0.32 to 2.0, 3.6 to 8.2, 19.1 to 232.5, 2.0 to 35.6, and 85.8 to 170.3 mg kg⁻¹, respectively. However, Zn, Cd, Pb, and As concentrations in the soil outside the rhizosphere zone were 499.0, 2.0, 631.0, and 48.0 mg kg⁻¹, respectively. Senecio brasiliensis was most effective in translocating Cu, Cd, and Ba. The most effective plant for translocating Zn and Pb was Baccharis trimera and, for element As, Dicranopteris nervosa and Hyptis brevipes. Heavy metal and metalloid levels in spontaneous plants greatly exceeded the upper limits for terrestrial plants growing in uncontaminated soil, demonstrating the higher uptake of heavy metal from soil by these plants. It is concluded that naturally occurring species have a potential for phytoremediation programs.