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Phytoremediation of barium-affected flooded soils using single and intercropping cultivation of aquatic macrophytes

Carvalho, Cássio Francisco Moreira de, Viana, Douglas Gomes, Pires, Fábio Ribeiro, Egreja Filho, Fernando Barboza, Bonomo, Robson, Martins, Luiz Fernando, Cruz, Leila Beatriz Silva, Nascimento, Mauro César Pinto, Cargnelutti Filho, Alberto, Rocha Júnior, Paulo Roberto da
Chemosphere 2019 v.214 pp. 10-16
Cyperus papyrus, Eleocharis, Typha domingensis, aboveground biomass, barium, biomass production, continuous cropping, cost effectiveness, field experimentation, intercropping, macrophytes, phytoaccumulation, roots, soil, Brazil
Aquatic macrophytes are potentially useful for phytoremediation on flooded areas. A field study in Brazil was conducted to evaluate Eleocharis acutangula (E), Cyperus papyrus (C) and Typha domingensis (T) in monocropping and intercropping, aiming to phytoremediate barium-polluted flooded soils. The treatments were: monocroppings (E, C and T); double intercroppings (EC, ET and CT); and triple intercropping (ECT). The 180-d field trial was performed in a flooded area with high barium content, with a randomized complete block design and three replicates. Plant stand size, biomass yield, and Ba concentration aboveground/Ba concentration in roots (translocation factor – TF) as well as Ba mass aboveground/Ba mass in roots (mass translocation factor – mTF) were determined. Most of the treatments did not differ on dry biomass, except for EC, which showed the lowest yield. Consistently with its biology, E. acutangula in monocropping showed the largest plant stand. Otherwise, intercroppings with T. domingensis achieved the highest amounts of barium absorbed from the soil and transferred most of the barium content from belowground to aboveground (mTF > 1.0), especially ET, which showed the highest mTF among the intercroppings (2.03). Remarkably, TF values did not reflect such phytoextraction ability for CT and ECT. Thus, mTF was more appropriate than TF to assess phytoextraction capacity. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that intercropping can increase barium uptake from flooded soils. Particularly, the intercropping ET constituted the most cost-effective treatment, with the cyperaceous species providing high plant coverage while T. domingensis facilitated barium removal by translocating it to the aboveground biomass.