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Environ Pollut. 2004 Nov;132(1):29-40.

Accumulation of lead, zinc, copper and cadmium by 12 wetland plant species thriving in metal-contaminated sites in China.

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Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, PR China.


The concentrations of lead, zinc, copper and cadmium accumulated by 12 emergent-rooted wetland plant species including different populations of Leersia hexandra, Juncus effusus and Equisetum ramosisti were investigated in field conditions of China. The results showed that metal accumulation by wetland plants differed among species, populations and tissues. Populations grown in substrata with elevated metals contained significantly higher metals in plants. Metals accumulated by wetland plants were mostly distributed in root tissues, suggesting that an exclusion strategy for metal tolerance widely exists in them. That some species/populations could accumulate relatively high metal concentrations (far above the toxic concentration to plants) in their shoots indicates that internal detoxification metal tolerance mechanism(s) are also included. The factors affecting metal accumulation by wetland plants include metal concentrations, pH, and nutrient status in substrata. Mostly concentrations of Pb and Cu in both aboveground and underground tissues of the plants were significantly positively related to their total and/or DTPA-extractable fractions in substrata while negatively to soil N and P, respectively. The potential use of these wetland plants in phytoremediation is also discussed.

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