Tolerance and bioaccumulation of copper in Phragmites australis and Zea mays
- Cite this article as:
- Ait Ali, N., Bernal, M.P. & Ater, M. Plant and Soil (2002) 239: 103. doi:10.1023/A:1014995321560
- 595 Downloads
The effects of copper on the growth, tolerance indices, mineral composition (N, P, K, Fe, Zn and Mn) and metal uptake of reed (Phragmites australis [Cav. Trin. ex Steudel]) and maize (Zea mays L.) were investigated in hydroponic experiments at copper concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 157 μM Cu. A reduction in root length was shown to be a good indicator of copper toxicity, concentrations of 15.7 and 78.7 μM Cu inhibiting root growth in maize and reed, respectively. The reed was significantly more tolerant of copper than maize and at 7.85 μM Cu (external concentration), reed can be described as a Cu tolerant plant, and maize as a Cu non-tolerant species. As a result of Cu toxicity, the concentrations of macronutrients N, P and K decreased in both shoot and root of maize, while the concentrations were hardly affected in reed tissues. Fe concentration increased in shoots and roots of maize and in roots of reed with increasing Cu treatments, leading to highly significant (p<0.01) linear relationships between tissue Fe and Cu concentrations. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) of Cu was higher in roots than in shoots of both plant species, ranging from 612 to 1592 in reed for the Cu treatments tested. In the roots of maize, BCF of Cu increased from 349 to 1931 when increasing Cu in nutrient solution from 7.85 μM to 78.5 μM. Therefore, reed could be useful in wastewater treatments for the removal of Cu. However, the use of reed in phytoextraction of Cu from contaminated soils is limited by the low accumulation rate in shoots and although reed can be more efficient than maize for Cu phytoextraction, harvesting the full biomass, including roots, may be required.