Evaluation of Humic Acid Application Effect on Cadmium Phytoremediation Efficiency by Calendula officinalis L. in a Cadmium-Contaminated Calcareous Soil

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Research and Technology Institute of Plant Production, Shahid Bahonar University, Kerman, Iran

2 Environment Department, Institute of Science and High Technology and Environmental Sciences, GraduateUniversity of Advanced Technology, Kerman, Iran.


Low efficiency of phytoremediation process of some heavy metals in calcareous soils, due to low mobility of these elements, has led to a significant growth in research on the use of chelating agents and biostimulants to improve the efficiency of this process. In present study, the efficiency of cadmium (Cd) phytoremediation of Calendula officinalis L. was investigated in a Cd-spiked calcareous soil as affected by foliar and soil application of humic acid. For this purpose, in a greenhouse experiment, seedlings of C. officinalis were transferred to Cd-spiked soils (0, 50 and 100 mg kg-1) and treated separately by soil (soil drench) and foliar (spraying plant leaves) application of humic acid at different levels (0, 10, 20 M). The humic acid treatments were applied two weeks after transferring plant and eventually the various biochemical-physiological traits and phytoremediation indices of Cd in C. officinalis were measured at specific times. According to the results, in Cd-spiked soils, the C. officinalis had apparently a normal growth without any toxicity signs (chlorosis and necrosis symptoms), however with increasing the Cd levels, the dry weight biomass decreased and antioxidant enzymes activities (catalase, peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase) increased. Both foliar and soil humic acid application in Cd-spiked soils increased dry weight biomass, Cd concentration, and bioconcentration factor (BCF). Furthermore, the application of this organic substance, obviously moderated the Cd stress since the antioxidant enzymes activities reduced compared to the control. Based on the results, the obtained translocation factor (TF) and BCF values of Cd, which were >1, indicated that this plant is a Cd-hyperaccumulator, which could extract Cd via phytoextraction mechanism. Generally, among the studied treatments, the application of 20 M (especially soil drench application) had the best effect on increasing Cd phytoremediation efficiency in the studied soil.


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