Effects of contaminated soil on the growth performance of young Salix (Salix schwerinii E. L. Wolf) and the potential for phytoremediation of heavy metals

Mir Md Abdus Salam, Erik Kaipiainen, Muhammad Mohsin, Aki Villa, Suvi Kuittinen, Pertti Pulkkinen, Paavo Pelkonen, Lauri Mehtätalo, Ari Pappinen
Journal of Environmental Management 2016 December 1, 183 (Pt 3): 467-477
Salix schwerinii was tested in a pot experiment to assess plant growth performance i.e., relative height and dry biomass and the potential for heavy metal uptake in soils polluted with chromium, zinc, copper, nickel and total petroleum hydrocarbons. The soil used in the pot experiment was collected from a landfill area in Finland. Peat soil was added at different quantities to the polluted soil to stimulate plant growth. The plants were irrigated with tap water or processed water (municipal waste water) to further investigate the effects of nutrient loading on plant biomass growth. The soil was treated at two pH levels (4 and 6). The results showed that the addition of 40-70% peat soil at pH 6 to a polluted soil, and irrigation with processed water accelerated plant growth and phytoextraction efficiency. In the pot experiment, Salix grown in chromium, zinc, copper, nickel and total petroleum hydrocarbons -contaminated field soil for 141 days were unaffected by the contaminated soil and took up excess nutrients from the soil and water. Total mean chromium concentration in the plant organs ranged from 17.05 to 250.45 mg kg(-1), mean zinc concentration ranged from 142.32 to 1616.59 mg kg(-1), mean copper concentration ranged from 12.11 to 223.74 mg kg(-1) and mean nickel concentration ranged from 10.11 to 75.90 mg kg(-1). Mean chromium concentration in the plant organs ranged from 46 to 94%, mean zinc concentration ranged from 44 to 76%, mean copper concentration ranged from 19 to 54% and mean nickel concentration ranged from 8 to 21% across all treatments. Under the different treatments, chromium was taken up by Salix in the largest quantities, followed by zinc, copper and nickel respectively. Salix also produced a moderate reduction in total petroleum total petroleum hydrocarbons in the polluted soil. The results from the pot experiment suggest that Salix schwerinii has the potential to accumulate significant amounts of chromium, zinc, copper and nickel. However, long term research is needed to verify the phytoextraction abilities of Salix observed in the pot experiment.

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