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J Environ Qual. 2002 Mar-Apr;31(2):641-7.

Effects of arsenic concentrations and forms on arsenic uptake by the hyperaccumulator ladder brake.

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Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0290, USA.


Ladder brake (Pteris vittata L.) is a newly discovered arsenic hyperaccumulator. No information is available about arsenic effects on ladder brake. This study determined the effects of different arsenic concentrations (50 to 1000 mg kg(-1)) or forms (organic vs. inorganic and arsenite vs. arsenate) applied to soils on growth and arsenic uptake by ladder brake. Young plants were grown in a greenhouse for 12 or 18 wk. Ladder brake was highly tolerant of arsenic and survived in soil containing up to 500 mg As kg(-1). The fact that addition of arsenate up to 100 mg As kg(-1) increased fern biomass by 64 to 107%, coupled with higher arsenic concentration in younger fronds at low soil arsenic concentrations and older fronds at high soil arsenic concentrations, implies that arsenic may be beneficial for fern growth. Addition of 50 mg As kg(-1) was best for fern growth and arsenic accumulation, resulting in the highest fern biomass (3.9 g plant(-1)), bioconcentration factor (up to 63), and translocation factor (up to 25). With an exception of FeAsO4 and AlAsO4, which had the lowest effects due to their low solubility, little difference was observed among other arsenic forms mainly because of arsenic conversion in soil. Aboveground biomass was mostly responsible for accumulation of arsenic by plant (75-99%). Up to 26% of the added arsenic was removed by ladder brake, showing the high efficiency of ladder brake in arsenic removal. The results suggest that ladder brake may be a good candidate to remediate arsenic-contaminated soils.

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