COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE PHYTOREMEDIATING POTENTIALS OF Pennistum purpureum and Axonopus fissifolius AGAINST Pb2+, Cd2+, Zn2+ and Co2+

C.E. Anarado, C.J.O. Anarado, E.C. Anyaegbu, N.L. Umedum, V.D. Chukwuma


The problems of environmental pollution by heavy metals have been on global discuss and clean up costs have consumed billions of dollars using current engineering technology. A cost-effective, noninvasive ‗green‘ technology alternative that utilizes plants to accumulate, translocate, and concentrate high amount of these heavy metals- phytoremediation has gained increasing attention since last decade. Two common African non edible plants —Pennistum purpureum and Axonopus fissifolius were used to study absorption of lead, cadmium, cobalt and zinc from soils inoculated with metal ions. Both 0.1 M and 0.5 M solutions of the metal ions were used in the inoculation. Each of the plants was collected between 8 to 10 weeks of inoculation. Atomic Absorption spectrophotometer was used to determine the concentrations of metal ions absorbed by the plants. The results showed that increase in the concentrations of the metal ions increased the absorption of the metal ions by both plants. At both 8th and 10th  weeks, Pennistum purpureum absorbed more cadmium and cobalt than Axonopus fissifolius, while Axonopus fissifolius absorbed more lead and zinc than Pennistum purpureum in both concentrations. Cobalt was most absorbed by both plants with highest absorption occurring at 10th week by Pennistum purpureum(14.460 mg/kg). Lead was least absorbed by both plants with lowest absorption occurring at 8th week by Pennistum purpureum(0.660 mg/kg). The results also showed that the absorption of the ions increased as the time of harvest increased.  Considering the high  absorption and high tolerance for all the metal ions by  both plants from the results, there is hope of achieving phytoremediation of the metal ions in their +2 oxidation states using both plants.

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