Simultaneous phytoremediation of chromium and phenol by Lemna minuta Kunth: a promising biotechnological tool
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The aim of this work was to evaluate the usefulness of Lemna minuta Kunth for the simultaneous removal of Cr(VI) and phenol. The impact of these contaminants on plant growth and some biochemical processes have also been discussed for a better understanding and utilization of this species in the field of phytoremediation. The optimal growth conditions and plant tolerance to Cr(VI) and/or phenol as well as removal were determined. Plants exposed to Cr(VI) and phenol were able to efficiently grow and remove both contaminants at high concentrations (up to 2.5 and 250 mg/L, respectively) after 21 days, indicating that they were resistant to mixed contamination. There were no significant differences between chlorophyll, carotene and malondialdehyde content of treated plants with respect to the controls, which would be due to an efficient antioxidant response. L. minuta showed a higher biomass than control without contaminant when was exposed to low concentrations of Cr(VI), suggesting an hormesis effect. The main removal process involved in chromium phytoremediation would be sorption or accumulation in the biomass. Moreover, our results suggest that phenol could be used as a donor of carbon and energy by these plants. These findings demonstrated that Lemna minuta Kunth might be suitable for treatment of different solutions contaminated with Cr(VI) and phenol, showing a high potential to be used in the treatment of effluents containing mixed contamination.
KeywordsBiodegradation Contamination Environmental remediation Macrophyte
The authors of this paper are members of the research career from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) (Argentina). M.F. has a fellowship from CONICET, and M.I.M. is teacher at U.N.R.C. We wish to thank CONICET D5205 for the financial support.
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