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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Aug;21(16):9921-30. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2947-z. Epub 2014 May 8.

Contrasting effects of silicates on cadmium uptake by three dicotyledonous crops grown in contaminated soil.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, #723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, 510650, China.


The effects of several silicates (talcum powder (TP), calcium silicate (CS), sodium silicate (SS), and potassium silicate (PS)), in comparison with other amendments (quicklime (QL) and potassium dihydrogen phosphate (PDP)) on cadmium (Cd) uptake by three dicotyledonous crops (Amaranthus hypochondriacus L. Cv. 'K112', Amaranthus tricolor L., and Brassica oleracea var. albiflora Kuntze) were investigated in Cd-contaminated soil. The effects of both application methods of amendments (singly and combined) and timing of application were also evaluated. Sodium silicate was the most effective in reducing crop Cd uptake and translocation, which was diminished by 51 % in roots, 53 % in stems, and 72 % in leaves on average. Application of CS amendment showed greater efficiency than PDP amendment in decreasing Cd uptake by crops and resulted in increased biomass. Potassium silicate only slightly decreased shoot Cd concentration. Combination of PDP and SS was able to overcome the inhibitory effect of SS on crop yield while decreasing Cd concentrations in roots, stems and leaves of the tested crops by average rates of 52, 65, and 68 % respectively. Applications of SS and PS significantly reduced the root-to-shoot Cd transfer factor. We found that Si accumulation in crops was not associated with lower Cd concentration, indicating that Si in crops may play a major role in alleviating metal stress rather than inhibiting crop Cd accumulation. We suggested that the inhibitive effect of silicates on crops Cd uptake was majorly attributed to the properties of the silicates, those were their specific effects on soil pH and cations, which increased Cd adsorption by soil and suppressed Cd uptake from soil solution by increasing the relative dissolved concentrations of competing cations.

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