Trace Metals Bioaccumulation Potentials of Three Indigenous Grasses Grown on Polluted Soils Collected Around Mining Areas in Pretoria, South Africa

  • G N Lion
  • J O Olowoyo
  • T A Modise


The rapid increase in the number of industries may have increased the levels of trace metals in the soil. Phytoremediation of these polluted soils using indigenous grasses is now considered an alternative method in remediating these polluted soils. The present study investigated and compared the ability of three indigenous grasses as bioaccumulators of trace metals from polluted soils. Seeds of these grasses were introduced into pots containing polluted soil samples after the addition of organic manure. The seeds of the grasses were allowed to germinate and grow to maturity before harvesting. The harvested grasses were later separated into shoots and roots and the trace metal contents were determined using ICP –MS. From all the grasses, the concentrations of trace metals in the roots were more than those recorded in the shoot with a significant difference (P < 0.05). The transfer factor (TF) showed that Zn was the most bioaccumulated trace metals by all the grasses followed by Pb, Mn, and Cu respectively. Chromium concentration from the shoot of the grasses was in the order Urochlora moasambicensis > Themeda trianda > Cynodon dactylon. The study concluded that the three grasses used were all able to bioaccumulate trace metals in a similar proportion from the polluted soils. However, since livestock feed on these grasses, they should not be allowed to feed on the grasses used in this study especially when harvested from a polluted soil due to their bioaccumulative potentials.


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eISSN: 0855-4307