Phytoremediation Potential of Helianthus annuus and Hydrangea paniculata in Copper and Lead-Contaminated Soil

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Water, Air, and Soil Pollution


This study was conducted to assess the hyperaccumulation and phytoremediation potential of copper (Cu) and lead (Pb) in Hardy ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) and the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus). The study also investigated the capacity of these two plants to transpire the metals in a temperature-controlled greenhouse. Plants were grown for 4 weeks and periodically watered with known elemental concentrations of copper oxide nanoparticles, copper sulfate, and lead nitrate. Both H. annuus and H. paniculata accumulated significant amounts of Cu and Pb to be classified as hyperaccumulator species. H. annuus took up significant amounts of Cu in the shoots, specifically the leaves (Cu max. = 1368 ppm), and easily translocated it from stem to leaf (translocation factor (TF) ranged from 2.7 to 81.0). Pb was not as easily taken up and translocated (TF = 0.6) as Cu was by this species. H. paniculata took up Cu and Pb in high concentrations but preferentially stored more metals in the stems (Cu max. = 1757 ppm; Pb max. = 780 ppm) than in the leaves (Cu max. = 126 ppm; Pb max. = 35 ppm). The translocation ability of H. paniculata was much lower for both metals compared to H. annuus. Both Cu and Pb transpired from H. annuus at concentrations of 0.04 and 0.005 ppm, respectively.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

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