Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 20, pp 15598–15609 | Cite as

Phytoremediation of cadmium by the facultative halophyte plant Bolboschoenus maritimus (L.) Palla, at different salinities

  • Márcia S. S. Santos
  • Carmen A. Pedro
  • Sílvia C. GonçalvesEmail author
  • Susana M. F. Ferreira
Research Article


The cadmium phytoremediation capacity of the halophyte plant Bolboschoenus maritimus (L.) Palla and the influence of water salinity were assessed in a greenhouse experiment, in order to better understand the bioremediation capacity of this plant. Three concentrations of cadmium (0, 50 and 100 μg l−1) and four salinity conditions (0, 5, 10 and 20) were chosen to evaluate the cadmium accumulation, in order to test these plants as a potential phytoremediation tool in brackish environments. The cadmium content in water and plants (underground organs, stems and leaves) was analysed with graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. All the plants submitted to salinity 20 and in the three cadmium treatments died. The plants’ survival was highest in the lowest salinities, where highest growth and biomasses were also obtained. The plants presented more cadmium content in the rhizomes, followed by stems and even less in leaves. The salt stress of the plants interfered with their cadmium accumulation capacity. The highest cadmium accumulation in the rhizomes occurred at salinity 0, while the salinities 0 and 5 were the most adequate for stems and leaves. The experiment pointed out that B. maritimus represents a good possible intervenient for cadmium bioremediation in freshwater and low salinity brackish water environments, but its use is limited in the habitats of higher salinity.


Halophytes Cadmium Salt stress Atomic absorption Phytoremediation Trace metals Greenhouse experiment Accumulator plant 



The authors gratefully acknowledge professors José Pestana and Carla Tecelão for their technical support in some steps of this work and all the colleagues at GIRM who assisted in the field and laboratory work. Also, the authors would like to acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the early versions of this work. The research conducted complies with the current Portuguese Law.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Márcia S. S. Santos
    • 1
  • Carmen A. Pedro
    • 1
  • Sílvia C. Gonçalves
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susana M. F. Ferreira
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Tourism and Maritime Technology, Marine Resources Research GroupPolytechnic Institute of LeiriaPenichePortugal
  2. 2.MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.CFE—Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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