Field evaluation of cultural cycles for improved cadmium and zinc phytoextraction with Noccaea caerulescens
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Background and aims
Adequate cultural cycles for phytoextraction with Noccaea caerulescens have never been investigated, whereas they directly influence biomass production. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the season of establishment, the seeding strategy (sowing vs transplantation) and the length of the growing season on biomass production and metal accumulation of N. caerulescens.
A field trial was conducted on an urban wasteland contaminated with trace metals. Two populations with contrasted natural life cycles, one Cd-accumulating metallicolous (Ganges, GAN) and one non-metallicolous from Luxemburg (LUX), were compared in 6 cultural cycles.
Direct sowing in the fall yielded satisfying metal uptake (260 g Cd ha−1 with GAN and 25 kg Zn ha−1 with LUX), though lower than those obtained with transplantation (320 g Cd ha−1 with GAN and 45 kg Zn ha−1 with LUX) due to less biomass production (1.6 vs 3.2 t ha−1). Extending the growing period from 6 to 12 months was mostly beneficial for biennial LUX plants (with 3 times higher Zn uptake), than for annual GAN plants (with 1.5 times higher Cd uptake).
The natural variation in life cycles – annual or biennial – of N. caerulescens should be taken into account when selecting cultivars for phytoextraction.
KeywordsGrowth cycles Hyperaccumulation Life cycles Phytoremediation Trace metals
A.J. is a research fellow of the Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l’Industrie et dans l’Agriculture (FRIA, Belgium). The authors gratefully acknowledge the Contrat de Quartier Durable Bockstael for site access, and the Centre d’Ecologie Urbaine for project coordination and help in the field. We are also grateful to Alexandre Van Baekel and Kristel Wart for their technical help in laboratory analyses, field work and seed production.
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