Environmental Earth Sciences

, 76:806 | Cite as

Accumulation and phytostabilization of As, Pb and Cd in plants growing inside mine tailings reforested in Zacatecas, Mexico

  • Miguel Angel Salas-LuévanoEmail author
  • J. A. Mauricio-Castillo
  • M. L. González-Rivera
  • H. R. Vega-Carrillo
  • S. Salas-Muñoz
Original Article


The aim of this research was to identify plant species with potential to accumulate and stabilize arsenic (As), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) in mine tailings reforested and naturally recolonized locations in a semiarid region of Zacatecas, Mexico. Plant shoots from 44 species and their rhizospheric soils were analyzed for As, Pb and Cd concentration using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Most represented plant families were Asteraceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae and Cactaceae. The highest concentrations in shoots were As, followed by Pb and Cd. Among herbaceous species, Bouteloua gracilis showed the highest bioconcentration factor (BCF) of As, while Plantago lanceolata showed the highest bioconcentration factor of Pb. The shrub species with highest concentration of As in the rhizospheric soil were Opuntia robusta, Melilotus alba, Baccharis neglecta and Arundo donax (near BCF to 1.0). Similar results were observed in trees Casuarina equisetifolia, Prosopis laevigata, Fraxinus uhdei and Eucalyptus globulus. In addition, Tillandsia recurvata showed a suitable indicator of atmospheric deposition to As. In general, the results suggest that these species can be effective for tailings reforestation with the possibility to enclose potentially toxic elements. Specially, C. equisetifolia which is abundant, having the potential for future applications in other contaminated sites with different types of mine tailings or abandoned mines from arid and semiarid zones.


Reforestation Mine waste Metallophytes Stabilization Casuarina 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unidad Académica de AgronomíaUniversidad Autónoma de ZacatecasZacatecasMexico
  2. 2.Unidad Académica de Estudios NuclearesUAZZacatecasMexico
  3. 3.CONACYT-INIFAPZacatecasMexico

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