Testing the potential of enhanced phytoextraction to clean up NORM and heavy metal contaminated soils

Hildegarde Vandenhove, Lise Duquène, F. Tack, J. Baeten, Jean Wannijn

    Research outputpeer-review


    A greenhouse experiment was set up to evaluate the potential of enhanced phytoextraction to clean up U and heavy metal contaminated soils. One soil had a naturally high U concentration; the other soil was impacted by the radium extraction industry. Enhancement of solubility and uptake by plants (ryegrass and Indian mustard) was monitored after addition of 5 chemical amendments: citric acid, ammonium citrate-citric acid mixture, oxalic acid, EDDS and NTA. Solubilisation and uptake were highly influenced by the amendment applied and soil-plant combinations. For U, citric acid, the ammonium citrate-citric acid mixture or EDDS were most effective in increasing U uptake. EDDS was most effective in increasing Cu in mustard and ryegrass and Pb in ryegrass shoots. For other metals, increase in uptake was limited to at most a factor 5. Percentages annually removed with biomass ranged from 0.0002% to 1.52%., and were lowest for U, Cr and Pb and highest for Cd. A targeted 10% reduction in soil contaminant would require 7 years for Cd, 35 and 52 years for Cu and Zn, 203 and 384 years for U and Pb and 9433 years for Cr. Phytoextraction is hence not a feasible technique to decontaminate historically contaminated soils.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)503-508
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 6 Jun 2009

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