Metal Transfer from Soil to crops – A Phytoremediation Study

IJEP 43(5): 400-408 : Vol. 43 Issue. 5 (May 2023)

Vijay Kumar Garg1, Arun Lal Srivastav1, M. K. Tiwari2, Ajay Sharma1* and Varinder Singh Kanwar1

1. Chitkara University, School of Engineering and Technology, Himachal Pradesh-174 103, India
2. Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Department of Atomic Energy, Indore, Madhya Pradesh-452 013, India


Pollution or contamination in soil is one of the major challenges to be dealt with and this pollution is caused by anthropological activities because of improper disposal of domestic and industrial waste without proper treatment. Direct contact or vapours from contaminated soil can lead to health hazards as toxic elements present in the soil may enter into the food chain thereby affecting human health as well as agricultural land. In order to treat the contaminated soil a well planned strategy is required. Present study is based on evaluating the soil samples collected from some of the sites (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5) and assessing the degree of concentration carried or absorbed by the plants grown in the same soil in terms of percentage of elements present. Controlled samples of soils (pre and post-phytoremediation) and the plants grown are investigated using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) technique. Presence of metals, like Cr, Cu, Zn, Pb, Rb, Sr, Ti, V and Zr is measured in terms of concentration (ppm) before and after remediation and a comparative decrease in concentration of elements is observed at almost all the sites. Quantitative results show that at A1 site Cu, Pb, Ti and Fe are absorbed by spinach (Spinacia oleracea) plant upto 70-80%, at A2 site Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) is found to absorb Fe upto 84%, at A3 rye (Secale cereal) found to absorb 15% of Mn and 84% of Fe. Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is recommended at A4 site as it can absorb Zr more effectively (48%). Similarly Ti, Mn and Fe are effectively absorbed by carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) at A5 site. Based on these preliminary investigations, the calculated metal transfer factor (MTF) is found to lie in range of 2-10% from pre-soil to plants grown, whereas, the health risk index (HRI) is found to vary from site to site (more at A1, least at A5) and is different for different elements (Pb>Ni>Mn>Fe>Cu>Zn). The study also suggests these crops (spinach, Indian mustard, rye, beetroot, carrot) as eco-friendly remedial measures for soil treatment by being hyper-accumulators.


Soil contamination, Plants, Metals, Phytoremediation, Energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence


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