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Phytoremediation of alkaline soils co-contaminated with cadmium and tetracycline antibiotics using the ornamental hyperaccumulators Mirabilis jalapa L. and Tagetes patula L.


The co-contamination of farmland soils with heavy metals and antibiotics from the application of livestock and poultry manures poses great threats to human health. Phytoremediation might be a good solution to this problem. A pot culture experiment was conducted to evaluate the remediation capacity of two ornamental hyperaccumulators, namely, Mirabilis jalapa L. and Tagetes patula L., in alkaline soils co-contaminated with cadmium (Cd) and tetracycline antibiotics (TCs). The growth of M. jalapa and T. patula was significantly influenced by the co-contaminated soil. In treatments with TCs alone, the growth of T. patula was promoted (p < 0.05), while that of M. jalapa was inhibited. In the C2T3 treatment with TCs and Cd combined, the biomass of T. patula and M. jalapa decreased by 42.27% and 56.15% in roots and by 22.24% and 32.27% for in shoots, respectively, compared with those in the same treatment without TCs. The addition of TCs increased the accumulation of Cd in treatments with less than 15.0 mg/kg Cd. In M. jalapa, the concentration of Cd increased by 4.64% and 39.69% in roots and by 30.33% and 71.71% in shoots, and that in T. patula increased by 74.66% and 11.03% in roots and by 15.36% and 17.58% in shoots, respectively, in two treatments with TCs compared with those in the treatments with Cd alone. However, the accumulated Cd amounts decreased from 36.25 to 31.91 μg/pot and increased from 201.33 to 229.26 μg/pot in C2T2 for M. jalapa and T. patula, respectively, compared with those in the treatments without TCs. The TC removal efficiencies of all treatments were above 99%, and the residual amounts of TC and OTC were higher than that of CTC. M. jalapa and T. patula are promising hyperaccumulators that can be used for the remediation of alkaline soil co-contaminated with Cd and TCs.

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This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 41430637, U1804110, and 41807358), the Education Department of Henan Province (grant no. 16A170007), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant no. 2016 M600577), and Science and Technology Development of Henan Province (172102210201).

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Correspondence to Ruichao Guo or Yulong Wang.

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Li, X., Zhu, W., Meng, G. et al. Phytoremediation of alkaline soils co-contaminated with cadmium and tetracycline antibiotics using the ornamental hyperaccumulators Mirabilis jalapa L. and Tagetes patula L.. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Phytoremediation
  • Co-contamination
  • Cadmium
  • Antibiotics
  • Ornamental hyperaccumulator