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J Hazard Mater. 2007 Sep 5;148(1-2):366-76. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Effects of chelators on chromium and nickel uptake by Brassica juncea on serpentine-mine tailings for phytoextraction.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan.


This study compares the effect of synthetic aminopolycarboxylic acids ethylenediamine tetraacetate (EDTA) and diethylenetriamine pentaacetate (DTPA) with natural low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOAs) oxalic acid and citric acid as chelators for enhancing phytoextraction of Cr and Ni by Brassica juncea on serpentine-mine tailings. Chelator treatments were applied at doses of 0.05 and 0.10 mmolkg(-1) dry soils after seedlings were grown in pots for 56 days. Experimental results indicate that EDTA and DTPA were the most efficient chelators of increasing the levels of Cr and Ni in the soil solutions over time. Additionally, the reduction of plant shoot biomass caused by the two synthetic chelators exceeds that caused by the LMWOAs. The total uptake (mass removal from soil) of metals by plants was enhanced via the chelators. Experimental results supported the use of B. juncea for Cr and Ni phytoremediation: B. juncea improved the removal of Cr and Ni from serpentine-mine tailings. However, low plant biomass did not assist phytoextraction by using EDTA and DTPA, both of which carry environmental risk. Therefore, adding LMWOAs during phytoremediation can provide an environmentally compatible alternative, which may decrease the use of synthetic chelators.

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