Plant and Soil

, Volume 249, Issue 1, pp 97–105 | Cite as

Plant availability of thallium in the rhizosphere of hyperaccumulator plants: a key factor for assessment of phytoextraction

  • Husam Al-Najar
  • Rudolf Schulz
  • Volker RömheldEmail author


The dynamics of thallium (Tl) fractions in the rhizosphere of two Tl hyperaccumulator plants, kale (Brassica oleracea acephala L. cv. Winterbor) and candytuft (Iberis intermedia Guers.), were examined to evaluate the efficiency of their possible use in phytoextraction. Plants were grown in a rhizobox system with a soil contaminated by Tl deposits from a cement plant in Leimen, Germany (1300 μg Tl kg−1 soil (aqua regia extraction) and 106 μg Tl kg−1 soil NH4NO3-extractable Tl). After 6 and 8 weeks growth of kale and candytuft, respectively, Tl fractions were sequentially extracted and compared with Tl uptake by plants. The uptake from `plant-available' Tl (fraction 1 – 4) in the rhizosphere (0–2 mm distance from root compartment) of both hyperaccumulator plants kale and candytuft accounted for 18 and 21% of the Tl accumulated in their shoots, respectively. The uptake from the `non-plant available' Tl (fraction 5 – 7) accounted for 50 and 40% of the mass of Tl accumulated by kale and candytuft, respectively. The high uptake capacity for Tl and the subsequent marked depletion in the rhizosphere soil might have resulted in a rapid shift in the equilibrium between the various Tl fractions. In addition, the high depletion in the rhizosphere indicates that the transport of Tl to roots is mainly diffusion driven. In conclusion, the easy access of the so called `non-plant available' Tl fraction in the rhizosphere soil by both hyperaccumulator plants indicates a high efficacy of possible phytoremediation of Tl contaminated soils such as the soil at the site in Leimen.

Brassicaceae candytuft kale non-plant available thallium phytoremediation plant-available thallium sequential extraction 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Husam Al-Najar
    • 1
  • Rudolf Schulz
    • 1
  • Volker Römheld
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut für Pflanzenernährung (330)Universität HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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