Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

Lead Phytoremediation Using Helianthus annuus, Helianthus giganteus and Tithonia rotundifolia**


Sunflowers are generally known as heavy metal hyperaccumulator plants but not all species have been tested to confirm this characteristic. In this study, the phytoremediation potential of four species of sunflower (Mexican Sundancers and Tithonia Torch (Tithonia rotundifolia), American Giant Hybrid (Helianthus annuus), and American Mammoths (Helianthus giganteus)) were assessed in a temperature-controlled greenhouse. Fifty-eight plants were grown for 12 weeks and watered periodically with either Miracle-Gro solution, mycorrhizae solution or solutions known concentrations of lead nitrate. At the end of the experiment, all the sunflower species had a significant amount of lead in the shoots and roots. Preliminary results show that T. rotundifolia had the highest concentration of lead in the roots (max.=182.27 ppm) after an 800 ppm lead nitrate solution and three rounds of mycorrhizae solution were used to water the plants for a week. H. annuus plants that were contaminated with an 800 ppm of lead nitrate solution but only one round of mycorrhizae solution and had the greatest lead concentrations in stem (max.= 10.45 ppm) and leaves (max.=114.07). T. rotundifolia that was treated with a 200 ppm lead nitrate solution and one treatment of mycorrhizae solution had no significant uptake in the shoots. Results from this study show that these four species of sunflower have hyperaccumulator properties and can potentially be used for phytoremediation.


Georgia College and State University Department of Environmental Science

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