Solubility and accumulation of metals in Chinese brake fern, vetiver and rostrate sesbania using chelating agents

L. Q. Lou, Z. H. Ye, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Greenhouse experiments were conducted to study the effects of chelating agents on the growth and metal accumulation of Chinese brake fern (Pteris vittata L.), vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides L.), and rostrate sesbania (Sesbania rostrata L.) in soil contaminated with arsenic (As), Cu, Pb, and Zn. Among the five chelating agents used [ethylenediaminetriacetic acid (EDTA), hydroxyethylenediaminetriacetic acid (HEDTA), nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), oxalic acid (OA), and phytic acid (PA)], OA was the best to mobilize As, EDTA to mobilize Cu and Pb, and HEDTA to mobilize Zn from soil, respectively. The biomass of vetiver was the highest, followed by rostrate sesbania. All chelating agents inhibited the growth of Chinese brake fern and rostrate sesbania, but HEDTA significantly increased the aboveground biomass of vetiver. Dry weights of both Chinese brake fern and rostrate sesbania decreased with increasing EDTA concentrations amended in the soil, especially in treatments with high EDTA concentrations. EDTA and HEDTA enhanced Cu, Zn, and Pb, but lowered As accumulation in all three plant species, except for As in vetiver, while OA significantly enhanced As accumulation in the aboveground part of vetiver. Concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Pb in the aboveground parts of plants increased significantly with the increase of EDTA concentrations and treatment time. In addition to As, Chinese brake fern also accumulated the highest Cu, Pb, and Zn in its aboveground parts among the three plant species grown in metal-contaminated soil with EDTA/HEDTA treatments. This species, therefore, can be used to simultaneously clean up As, Cu, Pb, and Zn from contaminated soils with the aid of EDTA or HEDTA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-343
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Arsenic (As) hyperaccumulation
  • Metal mobility
  • Metal uptake
  • Pteris vittata
  • Sesbania rostrata
  • Vetiveria zizanioides


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