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Growth and phytoremediative capacity of Axonopus compressus in a copper-polluted soil

Author Affiliations

  • 1Environmental Biotechnology and Sustainability Research Group, Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, Nigeria
  • 2Environmental Biotechnology and Sustainability Research Group, Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, Nigeria
  • 3Environmental Biotechnology and Sustainability Research Group, Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, Nigeria

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 10, Issue (1), Pages 1-10, February,18 (2020)


The importance of lawn grasses in both landscaping and recovery of degraded lands is a practice that is becoming somewhat popular in many climes. To better explore the capacity for any known lawn plant, like Axonopus compressus, for landscaping, which ultimately considers its phytoremediative capacities, the presented study investigated growth and phytoremediative capacity of the test plant in a heavy metal-polluted soil. Experimental soils were polluted with copper (as CuSO4) in 4 different concentration; 100, 200, 300 and 400mg/kg. Copper-polluted soils and control soils were sown with tillers of Axonopus compressus. The study was observed for 3 months. Afterwards, results showed that plant growth was adversely impacted as concentration of Cu increased. This reduction intensified as Cu concentration increased. Accumulation of Cu in leaves, stem, sheath, and root of Axonopus compressus in Cu-polluted soil as well as residual soil metal concentration after 3 months of exposure was reported. Leaf accumulation was 18.06-61.08mg/kg, whereas stem accumulations were 13.27-50.87mg/kg. Comparatively, there were differences in the phytoaccumulations of metal across the plant organs. The root had better accumulation levels. However, at higher soil metal levels, this trend was somewhat distorted; the highest accumulation being in the leaf (61.08mg/kg) in the 200mg Cu/kg soil treatment level, when compared with stem (35.15mg/kg), sheath (23.77mg/kg), and root (40.99mg/kg). This suggests perhaps, that the preferred organ of metal deposition depend on the soil concentration of the polluting metal. Antioxidant composition of the leaves of metal-exposed plants showed that contents of CAT, SOD, MDA and to copherol significantly (p<0.01) increased. Significant increases in CAT and SOD levels in the roots of the test plant implied that metal effects necessitated the heightened activity of the enzymes in question. Root CAT was 17.01mol/g tissue in the control, compared to 21.05-23.74mol/g tissue in the Cu-exposed plants. SOD contents of root was 49.33mol/g tissue in the 400mg Cu/kg soil treatments compared to 30.12mol/g tissue in the control. Minimal changes (p>0.05) in peroxidase and ascorbate concentrations however were. This study has established that Axonopus compressus has the capacity to withstand the deleterious effects of copper contamination and the capability to remove copper from polluted soils, and hence a good candidate for landscaping.


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