Comparison of four Sesbania species to remediate Pb/Zn and Cu mine tailings

Gilbert Y.S. Chan, Zhi H. Ye, Ming H. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


A 6-month greenhouse pot trial was performed, aimed at screening appropriate Sesbania species for remediation of Pb/Zn and Cu mine tailings. Performances of young seedlings of four Sesbania species (S. cannabina, S. grandiflora, S. rostrata, and S. sesban) were compared with and without inoculation of rhizobia. Seedlings were planted in two types of tailings amended with garden soil or garden soil mixed with river sediment. The results indicated that inoculated plants generally produced a higher biomass than samples without inoculation. Pb/Zn mine tailings containing rather high concentrations of total and water-soluble Cu, Pb, and Zn were toxic to plant growth compared with Cu mine tailings, according to the growth performance of the four species. Sesbania sesban and S. rostrata showed superior growth performance, compared to the other two species. Thus, they can serve as pioneer species to modify the barren environment, by providing organic matter and essential nutrients such as nitrogen, upon decomposition, in a relatively short period of time. This is especially true for S. rostrata, which is an annual plant that forms both stem and root nodules. However, a longer-term field trial should be conducted to investigate if superior species can beneficially modify the habitat for the growth of subsequent plant communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Metal mine tailings
  • Phytostablization
  • Pioneer species


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