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Strategy for phytomanagement in an area affected by iron ore dam rupture: A study case in Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Zago, Valéria Cristina Palmeira, das Dores, Nathália Corrêa, Watts, Beatriz Amanda
Environmental pollution 2019 v.249 pp. 1029-1037
Chrysopogon zizanioides, Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon winterianus, absorption, aerial parts, biomass production, composts, environmental degradation, environmental factors, grasses, income, iron, manganese, mine tailings, minerals, mycorrhizae, organic matter, polypropylenes, roots, seedlings, topsoil, toxic substances, toxicity, Brazil
In 2015, the Fundão tailing dam collapsed over the district of Bento Rodrigues (Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil) causing deaths, hundreds of homeless families and incalculable environmental degradation. Environmentally, economically and socially sustainable strategies are needed for the recovery of the affected areas. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the development, biomass production and toxic mineral elements absorption of three species of aromatic grasses (Chrysopogon zizanioides, Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon winterianus). These three species were planted on polypropylene pots filled with the iron ore tailings collected from the topsoil of the Bento Rodrigues district. The pots were fertilized with increasing doses of organic compost associated with mycorrhizae as a phytomanagement strategy. A 4 × 2 factorial scheme was used. The seedlings were fertilized with four doses of organic compost, with or without mycorrhizae. At the highest dose of the organic compost (2 kg.plant−1), the total dry matter (dry matter of the aerial part + dry matter of the roots) for C. zizanioides was 4.5 times higher than the control (tailing only). For C. winterianus and C. Citratus was 3.8 and 2.8 times higher than the control, respectively. Inoculation with mycorrhizae improved biomass production, especially in C. zizanioides. The Fe and Mn levels found in the aerial part of the plants fertilized with organic compost were lower than those just growing on the iron ore tailings for the three species, which suggest that the organic matter apparently helped the plants in the exclusion of the hazardous substances and therefore increased the tolerance to these adverse environmental conditions. C. zizanioides, associated with organic matter and mycorrhizae, would be the recommended species. The proposed phytomanagement strategy can have a significant contribution to the gradual recovery of the affected area and also serve as a source of income for the local population.