Arsenic uptake and accumulation in fern species growing at arsenic-contaminated sites of Southern China: Field surveys

H. B. Wang, Z. H. Ye, W. S. Shu, W. C. Li, M. H. Wong, C. Y. Lan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Aiming at searching for new arsenic (As) hyperaccumulators, field surveys were conducted at 12 As-contaminated sites located in Guangxi and Guangdong Provinces of southern China. Samples of 24 fern species belonging to 16 genera and 11 families as well as their associated soils were collected and As concentrations in plant and soil samples were determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES). The results show that among 24 fern species, Pteris multifida and P. oshimensis can (hyper)accumulate As in their fronds with high concentrations in addition to P. vittata and P. cretica var. nervosa, which have been previously identified as As hyperaccumulators. Total As concentrations in soils associated with P. multifida and P. oshimensis varied from 1262 to 47,235 mg kg-1, but the DTPA-extractable As concentrations were relatively low, with a maximum of 65 mg kg-1. Forty-four of 49 samples of P. multifida collected from five sites and 3 of 13 samples of P. oshimensis collected from one site accumulated over 1000 mg As kg-1 in their fronds and As concentrations in the fronds were higher than those in the petioles and rhizoids. Although As concentrations in the fronds of P. oshimensis (789 mg kg-1 averaged, range 301-2142 mg kg-1) were comparatively lower than those of P. multifida (1977 mg kg-1, 624-4056 mg kg-1), its high aboveground biomass makes it more suitable for phytoremediating As-contaminated soils. Among all the species in Pteris genus studied, Pteris semipinnata accumulated only very low As concentration in its fronds (8 mg kg-1, 1-18 mg kg-1). Further research is needed to study the differences in As uptake and accumulation among fern species in the same or other genera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Fern
  • P. oshimensis
  • Phytoremediation
  • Pteris multifida


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