Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 180, Issue 1–4, pp 131–139 | Cite as

Phytoextraction of Metal-Contaminated Soil by Sedum alfredii H: Effects of Chelator and Co-planting

  • Q. T. Wu
  • Z. B. Wei
  • Y. OuyangEmail author


Phytoextraction is a promising technology that uses hyperaccumulating plants to remove inorganic contaminants, primarily heavy metals, from soils and waters. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate impacts of a mixture of chelators (MC) upon the growth and phytoextraction of heavy metals by the hyperaccumulator Sedum alfredii Hance in a co-planting system in a paddy soil that was historically irrigated with Pb and Zn contaminated mining wastewaters. The co-planting system used in this study was comprised of a Zn- and Cd-hyperaccumulator (S. alfredii) and a low-accumulating crop (Zea mays). Results showed that yields of S. alfredii were significantly increased with the addition of the MC and by co-planting with Z. mays. Our study further revealed that concentrations of Zn, Pb, and Cd in the corn grains of Z. mays conform to the Chinese hygiene standards for animal feeds and in the other parts of Z. mays conform to the Chinese organic fertilizer standards. The uptake of Zn, Cd, and Pb by S. alfredii was significantly increased with the addition of MC. The uptake of Zn by S. alfredii was also significantly enhanced by co-planting with Z. mays, but the interaction between MC and co-planting was not significant, meaning the effects of the two types of treatments should be additive. When the MC was applied to the co-planting system in the soil contaminated with Zn, Cd, and Pb, the highest phytoextraction rates were observed. This study suggested that the use of the hyperaccumulator S. alfredii and the low-accumulating crop Z. mays in the co-planting system with the addition of the MC was a more promising approach than the use of a single hyperaccumulator with the assistance of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). This approach not only enhances the phytoextraction rates of the heavy metals but also simultaneously allows agricultural practices with safe feed products in the metal-contaminated soils.


co-cropping mixed chelators metals phytoremediation S. alfredii Zea mays 



This work is supported by National High-Technology Project of China (863 Project no: 2001-AA-640501-3), French–Chinese Programme de Recherche Avancee (PRA E-03-02) and Natural Science Foundation of China (40571141).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Natural Resource and EnvironmentSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Water ResourcesSt. Johns River Water Management DistrictPalatkaUSA

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