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Comparative of Quercus spp. and Salix spp. for phytoremediation of Pb/Zn mine tailings


A pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using tree seedlings for the phytoremediation of lead/zinc (Pb/Zn) mine tailings. Seedlings of three Quercus spp. (Q. shumardii, Q. phellos, and Q. virginiana) and rooted cuttings of two Salix spp. (S. matsudana and S. integra) were transplanted into pots containing 50 and 100 % Pb/Zn mine tailings to evaluate their tolerance of heavy metals. The five species showed different tolerance levels to the Pb/Zn tailings treatments. Q. virginiana was highly tolerant to heavy metals and grew normally in the Pb/Zn tailings. The root systems showed marked differences between the Quercus spp. and Salix spp., indicating that different mechanisms operated to confer tolerance of heavy metals. The maximum efficiency of photosystem II photochemistry value of the five species showed no differences among the treatments, except for Q. shumardii. All species showed low metal translocation factors (TFs). However, S. integra had significantly higher TF values for Zn (1.42–2.18) and cadmium (1.03–1.45) than did the other species. In this respect, Q. virginiana showed the highest tolerance and a low TF, implying that it is a candidate for phytostabilization of mine tailings in southern China. S. integra may be useful for phytoextraction of tailings in temperate regions.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Funds of China (Nos. 31300509 and 31400526), special funds from the Central Scientific Research Institute of Public Welfare (RISF2013003, CAFYBB2014QB016, and CAFYBB2014QB035), and the National Natural Science Funds of Beijing (No. 8152032).

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Correspondence to Zeping Jiang.

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Responsible editor: Elena Maestri

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Shi, X., Wang, S., Sun, H. et al. Comparative of Quercus spp. and Salix spp. for phytoremediation of Pb/Zn mine tailings. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 3400–3411 (2017).

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  • Mine tailing
  • Phytoremediation
  • Tolerance
  • Quercus spp.
  • Salix spp.
  • Root