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Uptake and fixation of Zn, Pb, and Cd by Thlaspi caerulescens: application in the cases of old mines of Mibladen and Zaida (West of Morocco)

  • El Kheir, Safae Berrah1
  • Oubbih, Jamal1
  • Saidi, Nadia1
  • Bouabdli, Abdelhak1
  • 1 Ibn Tofail University, Geology Department, Applied Geosciences and Environment Laboratory, Environmental Pollution and Phytoremediation (Equip), Faculty of Sciences, Kenitra, 14000, Morocco , Kenitra (Morocco)
Published Article
Arabian Journal of Geosciences
Publication Date
Aug 05, 2008
DOI: 10.1007/s12517-008-0007-z
Springer Nature


Contaminated soils and mine tailings pose major environmental and agricultural problems worldwide. These problems may be partially solved by an emerging new technology: phytoremediation. This technique uses plants to extract soil contaminants from the ground. Thlaspi caerulescens is known to accumulate in their tissues several heavy metals from soil and aerial deposition. This study was conducted to screen plants growing on a contaminated site to determine their potential for metal accumulation. Seeds of T. caerulescens metallicolous have been collected in the vicinity of F.T. Laurent le Minier in the Pb–Zn mining district of les Malines (North of Montpellier, Southern France), and seeds of T. caerulescens non-metallicolous were sampled on Larzac Plateau (North of Montpellier, Southern France). Soil substrates were collected from a mine site of Mibladen and Zaida (West, Morroco). Cultivated plant and surface soil samples were analyzed for zinc, lead, and cadmium concentrations by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. A non-metallicolous (NM) ecotype of T. caerulescens and a metallicolous (M) ecotype are compared for Pb, Cd, and Zn accumulation in shoot and root in five metal-contaminated soils and one uncontaminated soil. The growth of individuals from uncontaminated soil was greater than that of individuals from metal-contaminated soils. The NM populations had markedly higher root/shoot ratio compared to M populations. The results indicate that both ecotypes of T. caerulescens are highly tolerant of zinc and Cd. Ecotype NM had constitutively higher Zn uptake capacity than the M ecotype. T. caerulescens species accumulate higher amount of Zn and Cd in their tissues in polluted soil and, in both of the two ecotypes, the root Pb concentrations were much greater than those of the shoot Pb contents. From both uncontaminated and metal-contaminated soils, we conclude that T. caerulescens are interesting material for phytoremediation of zinc and cadmium.

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