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Comparing the risk of metal leaching in phytoremediation using Noccaea caerulescens with or without electric field

Luo, Jie, Xing, Xinli, Qi, Shihua, Wu, Jian, Gu, X.W. Sophie
Chemosphere 2019 v.216 pp. 661-668
Noccaea caerulescens, Thlaspi arvense, biomass production, cadmium, copper, electric field, electric potential, hyperaccumulators, leachates, leaching, lead, phytoremediation, polluted soils, risk, soil solution, zinc
Hyperaccumulators can mobilize all metals in soil through secreting exudates to form soluble compounds but only hyperaccumulate part of them. Metals that cannot be accumulated are defined as non-hyperaccumulated metals and can increase the leaching risk in phytoremediation. Cd and Zn hyperaccumulator Noccaea caerulescens (formerly Thlaspi caerulescens) was utilized to remediate multi-metal polluted soil in the present study, and the leaching risk of non-hyperaccumulated metals including Cu and Pb was investigated during the phytoremediation process. Comparing with Thlaspi arvense, a non-hyperaccumulator, N. caerulescens significantly decreased the concentrations of Cd and Zn in leachate gathered from precipitation simulation experiments without electric field, but meanwhile dramatically increased the concentrations of Cu and Pb in soil solution. Electric field with low (2 V) and moderate (4 V) voltages increased the biomass yield and metal uptake capacity of N. caerulescens simultaneously and therefore further reduced the concentrations of Cd and Zn in the leachate. Although the volume of leachate decreased significantly in pots with electric field, the leaching risk of Pb and Cu was deteriorated. Thus, decontaminating multi-metal polluted soil with electric field and hyperaccumulator should be conducted with caution due to potential secondary environmental risk caused by activated non-hyperaccumulated metals.