Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 799–807 | Cite as

Accumulation and partitioning of heavy metals in mangrove rhizosphere sediments

  • Yan-wu Zhou
  • Yi-sheng Peng
  • Xu-lin Li
  • Gui-zhu ChenEmail author
Original Article


A field study was conducted to clarify the effect of rhizosphere processes on the accumulation and partitioning of heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, Cd and Ni) in mangrove sediments. Metals were fractionated by a sequential extraction procedure into three chemically distinct fractions: water soluble, exchangeable and carbonate bound (B1), Fe–Mn oxide bound (B2), and organic and sulfide bound (B3). Results indicate that rhizosphere processes tend to increase the metal concentrations in the rhizosphere sediments. However, plant uptake may result in the decrease of the metal concentrations in the rhizosphere sediments when the metal concentrations are relatively low in the bulk sediments. Compared with the bulk sediments, the rhizosphere sediments have low concentrations of heavy metals in the B1 and B2 fractions and high concentrations in the B3 fraction. Either an increase or decrease in the residual fraction of heavy metals in the rhizosphere sediments may appear, depending on whether the formation of the refractory metal-organic compounds or the activation of the residual fractions dominates. Results also indicate that mangrove plants absorb and store non-essential metals in the perennial tissues, thus reducing the export of non-essential metals via leaf litter transport. Mangrove plants are excellent candidates for phytostabilization of heavy metals in intertidal substrates.


Accumulation Heavy metals Rhizosphere processes Sediment Speciation 



This work was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNEP/GEF) (No. GF/3010-07-03). The authors would like to thank Mr. Jinzao Lin and Shenghua Peng who assisted during field sampling.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan-wu Zhou
    • 1
  • Yi-sheng Peng
    • 1
  • Xu-lin Li
    • 1
  • Gui-zhu Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and Engineering and Research Centre of Wetland ScienceSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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