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Journal Article 
Evaluation of the Cd, Pb and Cu contamination of soils using a rapid plant biotest. / A talajok Cd-, Pb-és Cu-szennyezettségének értékelése gyors növényi bioteszttel 
Barna, S; Füleky, G 
A laboratory experiment was set up using a rapid plant biotest with English ryegrass (Lolium perenne) as indicator plant to determine the contamination level of a weakly acidic sandy soil [KA: 25; organic matter content: 2.02%; pH(H20): 5.7 pH(KCI): 4.89] exposed to Cd, Pb and Cu contamination, compared with the limit values currently valid in Hungary. The study was warranted by the fact that no plant biotest methods were previously available to characterize the toxic effects of heavy metals on ecosystems in the range around the limit value of heavy metal contamination of soils. In the plant biotest method, 2 g seeds of L. perenne were grown on cotton wool soaked with 2 g distilled water in each of 45 pots (500 ml) for 10 days. The test plants were then exposed to Cd, Pb or Cu loads at 0.0, 0.75, 1.0, 2.0 or 4.0 times the soil contamination limit values given in Hungarian regulations. Each treatment was repeated 3 times. The test soil (200 g/pot) was screened through a 2 mm mesh and then mixed with cadmium acetate, lead acetate or copper sulfate solution of the appropriate concentration. The cotton wool containing the 10-day-old seedlings was then placed on the soil. After 2 weeks of exposure, the height, fresh and dry mass, moisture content and heavy metal content of the shoots, and the mass and heavy metal content of the roots were measured. Based on the physiological parameters, the shoot height of L. perenne was found to be the best indicator of heavy metal contamination at or above the limit value for all three heavy metals (Cd, Pb and Cu). A significant decrease in the shoot height, 10.1% for Cd, 16.0% for Pb, was first recorded at the contamination limit of these metals. In fact, Cu caused an 11.3% decrease (above EC10) in the shoot height even at 75% contamination level, pointing to the danger of this essential microelement accumulating in the food chain. Another ecotoxicological parameter suitable for assessing the lead and copper contamination of soils was the decrease in total root mass, because it was at the soil contamination limit value that the damaging effect of both heavy metals reached the first critical value of acute toxicity (Pb: 12%, Cu: 14.8%). The results indicated that, although the ecotoxicological test method used was a rapid biotest performed in pots in the laboratory, it was suitable for the characterization of heavy metal (Cd, Pb and Cu) contamination in slightly acidic soils and was compatible with existing environmental contamination limits. Two plant physiological parameters (shoot height and total root mass) were found to be suitable indicators of Cd, Pb and Cu contamination exceeding the limit values. 
biomass; cadmium; copper; indicator plants; lead; plant height; polluted soils; sandy soils; shoots; soil organic matter; soil pH; soil pollution; soil types; Hungary; Lolium perenne; plants; Central Europe; Europe; Developed Countries; OECD Countries; Lolium; Poaceae; Cyperales; monocotyledons; angiosperms; Spermatophyta; eukaryotes; organic matter in soil; plant indicators; Forage and Fodder Crops (FF007) (New March 2000); Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (FF060); Plant Production (FF100); Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy (JJ200); Soil Fertility (JJ600); Pollution and Degradation (PP600); Industrial Wastes and Effluents (XX400) 
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