Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 8307–8315 | Cite as

Copper uptake by Eichhornia crassipes exposed at high level concentrations

  • Eliana MelignaniEmail author
  • Laura Isabel de Cabo
  • Ana María Faggi
Research Article


The objective of this study was to assess the growth of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and its ability to accumulate Cu from polluted water with high Cu concentrations and a mixture of other contaminants under short-term exposure, in order to use this species for the remediation of highly contaminated sites. Two hydroponic experiments were performed under greenhouse conditions for 7 days. One of them consisted of growing water hyacinth in Hoagland solution supplemented with 15 or 25 mg Cu/L and a control. The other one contained water hyacinth growing in polluted river water supplemented with 15 mg Cu/L and a control. Cu was accumulated principally in roots. The maximum Cu concentration was 23,387.2 mg/kg dw in the treatment of 25 mg Cu/L in Hoagland solution. Cu translocation from roots to leaves was low. The mixture of 15 mg Cu/L with polluted water did not appear to have toxic effects on the water hyacinth. This plant showed a remarkable uptake capacity under elevated Cu concentrations in a mixture of pollutants similar to pure industrial effluents in a short time of exposure. This result has not been reported before, to our knowledge. This species is suitable for phytoremediation of waters subject to discharge of mixed industrial effluents containing elevated Cu concentrations (≥15 mg Cu/L), as well as nutrient-rich domestic wastewaters.


Mixed pollution Macrophytes Phytoremediation Heavy metals Restoration 



This work was supported by Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica, Argentina (PICT 00–356) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina (PIP 0323). The authors would like to thank Cristian Weigandt for determinations of heavy metals, Carlos Hernández for assistance in the greenhouse and Rosemary Scoffield for the English revision of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eliana Melignani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura Isabel de Cabo
    • 1
  • Ana María Faggi
    • 1
  1. 1.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasCiudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina

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