Root development of the Zinc-hyperaccumulator plant Thlaspi caerulescens as affected by metal origin, content and localization in soil
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Penetration into and exploitation of contaminated soils by roots of hyperaccumulator plants is a prerequisite for efficient removal of heavy metals, i.e. efficacy of phytoextraction. This work was undertaken to study the development of roots of the Zn-hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens under various conditions of soil contamination. Rhizoboxes were constructed with a removable plastic front cover, and filled with soils containing different amounts and forms of metals (Zn, Cd and Pb). Treatments were: homogeneous soil profile, superposition of three layers, inclusion of contaminated soil into uncontaminated soil, or inclusion of uncontaminated soil into uniformly contaminated soil. Four seedlings were transplanted into each rhizobox, and development of the root system was periodically recorded for 133 days. At harvest, the biomass and size of the rosette of aerial parts were determined. The aerial biomass/root length fraction as well as the kinetics of root development varied according to the presence and localization of Zn. The distribution and morphology of roots at harvest were strongly dependent upon the metal content and form in soil. Roots exhibited a high affinity for the Zn-contaminated patches and showed two distinct morphologies according to the concentration of Zn in soil.
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