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Environ Pollut. 2007 Feb;145(3):700-7. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Growth of Lygeum spartum in acid mine tailings: response of plants developed from seedlings, rhizomes and at field conditions.

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Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zurich, Universitaetstrasse 16, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Lygeum spartum is a native species in semiarid Mediterranean areas that grows spontaneously on acid mine tailings. We aimed to study the suitability of this plant for phytostabilization. L. spartum was grown from both seeds and rhizomes in acid mine tailings with various fertilizer and lime treatments. Untreated soils had a solution pH of 2.9 with high concentrations of dissolved salts (Electrical Conductivity 25 dS m(-1)) and Zn (3100 mg L(-1)). Plants grown on untreated soil had high shoot metal concentrations (>4000 mg kg(-1)Zn). Liming increased the solution pH to 5.5 and reduced the dissolved salts by more than 75%, resulting in lower shoot metal accumulation. Plants grown from rhizomes accumulated less metal than those grown from seeds. Plants collected in the field had metal concentrations an order of magnitude less than plants raised in the growth chamber. These differences may be due to the higher moisture content and homogeneous nature of the soils used in the pot experiment.

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