Induced phytoextraction/soil washing of lead using biodegradable chelate and permeable barriers

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Chelate-induced remediation has been proposed as an effective tool for the extraction of lead (Pb) from contaminated soils by plants. However, side-effects, mainly mobilization and leaching of Pb, raise environmental concerns. Biodegradable, synthetic organic chelate ethylenedi-aminedisuccinic acid (EDDS), and commonly used ethylenedimanetetraacetic acid (EDTA) were used for induced phytoextraction with a test plant Brassica rapa and in situ washing of soil contaminated with 1350 mg/kg of Pb. Horizontal permeable barriers were placed 20 cm deep in soil columns and tested for their ability to prevent leaching of Pb. The reactive materials in the barriers were nutrient enriched vermiculite, peat or agricultural hydrogel, and apatite. EDTA and EDDS addition increased Pb concentrations in the test plant by 158 and 89 times compared to the control, to 817 and 464 mg/kg, respectively. In EDTA treatments, approximately 25% or more of total initial soil Pb was leached in single cycle of chelate addition. In EDDS treatments, 20% of the initial Pb was leached from columns with no barrier, while barriers with vermiculite or hydrogel and apatite decreased leaching by more than 60 times, to 0.35%. 11.6% of total initial Pb was washed from the soil above the barrier with vermiculite and apatite, where almost all leached Pb was accumulated. Results indicate that use of biodegradable chelate EDDS and permeable barriers may lead to environmentally safe induced Pb phytoextraction and in situ washing of Pb.




Kos, B., & Leštan, D. (2003). Induced phytoextraction/soil washing of lead using biodegradable chelate and permeable barriers. Environmental Science and Technology, 37(3), 624–629.

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