Effect of chelating agents in phytoremediation of heavy metals



Chelate-assisted metal uptake by plants has only recently been discovered in the remediation industry. The simultaneous accumulation of lead, arsenic, copper, and cadmium in plants after application of chelating agents to soil is a promising technology enhancement for phytoremediation. One of the most powerful and commonly used chelating agents is ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA), which forms complexes with many of the metal contaminants within the natural environment. This study was conducted to determine the efficiency of an emergent wetland plant species Typha sp. and floating wetland macrophytes such as Pistia sp., Azolla sp., Lemna sp., Salvinia sp., and Eichhornia sp. in phytoremediation of various heavy metals with addition of a chelating agent such as EDTA. EDTA addition to the treatment systems increased the uptake of heavy metals by plants, which was much pronounced with lead and copper. However, the pattern of uptake by plants was similar as that of heavy metals without EDTA amendments. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.