Cadmium phytoextraction by Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Brassica napus cv Wichita (rapeseed), and Chyrsopogon zizanioides (vetiver)

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The use of phytoextraction plant species to accumulate soil metals into harvestable plant parts is a method used for managing soils with high cadmium (Cd). We evaluated three Cd accumulating species recently recommended for such use in cacao farms where Cd removal is needed to maintain markets: Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Brassica napus (rapeseed), and Chyrsopogon zizanioides (vetiver). Plants were grown in two greenhouse pot experiments with different Cd-spiked growth media: (sand plus perlite) and a natural soil. Plant total Cd and Cd uptake in shoot biomass of all species, across both experiments, increased linearly with increasing amounts of added Cd. Rapeseed had the highest plant total Cd and sunflower had the highest Cd uptake in shoot biomass. The highest application of Cd corresponded to the highest plant total Cd and shoot biomass Cd uptake, regardless of species. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) for each species increased in a curvilinear manner with added Cd, with maximum BCF values for plants grown in the sand and perlite matrix at 2.5 mg kg−1 added Cd and in the natural soil at 5.0 mg kg−1 added Cd. We conclude that the Cd uptake (shoot biomass only) capability of the three species examined is greatest for sunflower given its increased uptake with Cd additions, its BCF value > 1, and lack of observed visual Cd toxicity symptoms, fungus and insect damage. Although these species had BCF >1, the potential annual removal of Cd would have been too small to support a meaningful phytoextraction practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129086
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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