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Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals in Aqueous Solutions

Abstract

One of the major environmental problems is the pollution of water and soil by toxic heavy metals. This study investigated the phytoremediation potential of water hyacinth, for the removal of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn). Water hyacinths were cultured in bore-hole water, supplemented with 5mg/l of Zn and Pb and 1mg/l of Cd at pH 4.5, 6.8 and 8.5. The plants were separately harvested each week for six weeks. The results showed that removal of these metals from solution was fast especially in the first two weeks, after which it became gradual till saturation point was reached. The accumulation of Cd and Zn in leaves and roots increased with increase in pH. The highest accumulation was in the roots with metal concentration of 4870mg/kg, 4150mg/kg and 710mg/kg for Zn, Pb and Cd respectively at pH 8.5. The maximum values of bioconcentration factor (BCF) for Zn, Pb and Cd were 1674, 1531 and 1479 respectively, suggesting that water hyacinth was good accumulator of Zn, Pb and Cd, and could be used to treat industrial wastewater contaminated with heavy metals such as Zn, Pb and Cd

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This paper was published in Directory of Open Access Journals.

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