Constitutional tolerance to heavy metals of a fiber crop, ramie (Boehmeria nivea), and its potential usage

B. Yang, M. Zhou, W. S. Shu, C. Y. Lan, Z. H. Ye*, R. L. Qiu, Y. C. Jie, G. X. Cui, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


It is observed that ramie (Boehmeria nivea), an economic fiber crop, can establish and colonize metal-contaminated sites in China. Metal tolerance and accumulation by ramie originating from 13 metal-contaminated and 4 "clean" sites in China were compared under field and hydroponic conditions. All selected populations and germplasms displayed good growth performance under diverse metal-contaminated habitats; while growth responses, metal accumulation and tolerance were similar among the 8 populations and 2 germplasms when exposed to solutions containing elevated As, Cd, Pb, or Zn in the laboratory. These revealed that ramie possesses a certain degree of constitutional metal tolerance. To our knowledge, this is the first report of constitutional metal tolerance possessed by a fiber crop. Ramie can be considered as a good candidate for both fiber production and phytoremediation of sites contaminated by multi-metals, as it accumulates relative low metal concentrations, but possesses both high biomass and high economic value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Constitutional tolerance
  • Heavy metals
  • Phytoremediation
  • Ramie


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