Assessment of the Phytoremediation Potential of Six Populations of Chamaecrista fasciculata in Response to Elevated Soil Cadmium Levels
Henson, Tessa Rattenbury
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When restoring degraded ecosystems from heavy metal contamination, ecosystem recovery is often not possible without some form of remediation to remove contaminants. One type of remediation is phytoremediation, which utilizes green plants to sequester, uptake, or degrade contaminants. Cadmium is one such contaminant, a heavy metal commonly found in excess in the terrestrial environment as a pollutant, with soil contamination levels ranging from 1mg/kg to levels in excess of 1020mg/kg. This study was conducted in two parts: 1) to assess between-population variation for tolerance and 2) to assess between-population variation for accumulating ability and metal allocation of six populations of a plant species never before tested for response to elevated soil cadmium levels, the partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata). Significant variation in tolerance, accumulating ability, and metal allocation was observed across the six populations of C. fasciculata, demonstrating a vast potential for application of Chamaecrista fasciculata in phytoremediation projects either through metal extraction or metal sequestration and revegetation.