The removal of contaminants from an earthy matrix by phytoremediation requires the selection of appropriate plant species and a suitable strategy to be effective. In order to set up an assisted phytoremediation intervention related to a disused industrial site affected by an arsenic and lead complex contamination, an extensive experimental investigation on micro and mesocosm scale has been conducted.Particular attention was given to the choice of plant species: using crop plants (Lupinus albus, Helianthus annuus and Brassica juncea) a series of parallel test campaigns have been realized to investigate different scenarios for the reclamation.With regard to the arsenic contamination, which is certainly the most worrying, the possibility of employing a hyper-accumulator species (Pteris vittata) has also been investigated, highlighting advantages and difficulties associated with such an approach.The application of various mobilizing agents in different concentrations was tested, in order to maximize the extraction efficiency of plants in respect of both contaminants, showing the necessity of a chemically assisted approach to promote their uptake and translocation in the shoots.Phosphate addition appears to produce the desired results, positively affecting As phyto-extraction for both hyper-accumulator and crop plants, while minimizing its toxic effects at the investigated concentrations. With regard to Pb, although tests with EDDS have been encouraging, EDTA should be preferred at present due to lower uncertainties about its effectiveness. The performed tests also improved the addition of mobilizing agents, allowing the simultaneous removal of the two metals despite their great diversity (which in general discourages such approach), with significant saving of time and an obvious improvement of the overall process.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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