ISSN 1021-4437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 3, pp. 410–419. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © Yu.G. Madzhugina, Vl.V. Kuznetsov, N.I. Shevyakova, 2008, published in Fiziologiya Rastenii, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 3, pp. 453–463.
Heavy metals (HM) are one of the most adverse
environmental pollution because they exert cytotoxic,
mutagenic, and carcinogenic action . The man activ-
ity could disturb natural biogeochemical cycles, and
this results in the contamination of all components of
the environment (air, water, and soil) with HM . In
soil, HM availability for plants could differ. Water-sol-
uble HM are, as a rule, their chlorides, nitrates, sulfates,
and complex organic compounds. HM accumulate in
soil relatively rapidly and are extremely slowly
removed from it: the half-removal of zinc is up to
500 years; cadmium, up to 1100 years; copper, up to
1500 years; and lead, up to several thousands years .
HM inhibit photosynthesis, disturb mineral nutrition,
suppress growth, and affect plant water metabolism and
hormonal status .
Environment phytoremediation induces a great
world-wide interest due to an appeared capability of
surface soil layer decontamination . Plants could
purify environment from metals; therefore, phytoreme-
diation (the usage of green plants for pollutant extrac-
tion from the surface soil layer or their chemical detox-
iﬁcation) is gradually introduced as a non-environmen-
tally disruptive technology [5, 6]. It has been shown
that growing of speciﬁc plants, HM hyperaccumula-
tors, on polluted territories allows soil decontamination
of excess metals [7, 8]. Various plant species differ in
their capability of metal accumulation and their parti-
tion between plant organs. The capability of metal
hyperaccumulation by some plant species is greatly
determined by their morphological and physiological
features. Plants are called hyperaccumulators when
they accumulate HM in their aboveground organs with-
out visible damage .
Nickel hyperaccumulators accumulate more than
1 g Ni/kg dry wt. At present, more that 300 species of
nickel hyperaccumulators are established; most of them
belong to the Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Buxaceae,
Euphorbiaceae, Flacourtiaceae, Rubiaceae, and Vio-
laceae families; they usually grow on serpentine soils in
tropical and subtropical regions .
Phytoremediation is inexpensive and simple in
application; it could be used in every ecologically
harmful region [5, 6]. Phytoremediation technology is
actively developed and introduced in Bulgaria, United
States, Great Britain, Spain, Canada, China, Mexico,
New Zeeland, and some other countries.
However, the successful application of this environ-
ment-saving technology in Russia requires a search for
HM-accumulating plant species living naturally under
our ecological conditions or introduced plants survived
under these conditions. Nevertheless, investigations of
HM accumulation by wild plants and crops performed
Plants Inhabiting Polygons for Megapolis Waste as Promising
Species for Phytoremediation
Yu. G. Madzhugina, Vl. V. Kuznetsov, and N. I. Shevyakova
Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Botanicheskaya ul. 35, Moscow, 127276 Russia;
fax: 7 (495) 977-8018; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received October 31, 2007
— Screening of ruderal plant species inhabiting polygons for solid waste (SW) burying contaminated
with heavy metals (HM). Among these plants, wood small-reedgrass (
L. Roth) was
found; this plant is a perennial grass characterized by the highest level of HM, especially Ni, accumulation. The
content of Ni was 703 mg/kg dry wt in wood small-reedgrass leaves and 346 mg/kg dry wt in its rhizomes. On
the SW polygon closed 15 years ago, wood small-reedgrass produced a monoculture of high productivity
(15 centner/ha), and this provided for extraction of HM moved from SW layers and maintenance of their con-
centrations in covering soil at the level not dangerous for plants (by 5–10 times below the threshold level).
Under constant conditions, the tolerance of wood small-reedgrass seed germination to HM was established.
Adult plants turned out to be tolerant to periodic mowing; they were capable of HM accumulation in above-
ground organs; they also accumulated the osmoprotectant proline. It was concluded that wood small-reedgrass
could be used for SW polygon recultivation and within the lawn grass mixtures for near-road lawns in cities.
Key words: Calamagrostis epigeios - heavy metals - nickel - copper - lead - zinc- phytoremediation
: SW—solid waste; HM—heavy metals.