Evaluation of cadmium and arsenic effects on wild and cultivated cardoon genotypes selected for metal phytoremediation and bioenergy purposes

Chiara Leonardi, Valeria Toscano, Claudia Genovese, Julian Frederick Willem Mosselmans, Bryne Ngwenya, Salvatore Antonino Raccuia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Cynara cardunculus L. is a multipurpose crop, characterized by high production of biomass suitable for energy purposes and green chemistry. Taking advantage of its already demonstrated ability to grow in polluted environments that characterize many world marginal lands, the aim of this work was to investigate the response of different cardoon genotypes to exposure to cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) pollution, in order to use this crop for rehabilitation of contaminated sites and its biomass for energy production. In this study, seeds of two wild cardoon accessions harvested in rural and industrial Sicilian areas and of a selected line of domestic cardoon were used, and the grown plants were spiked with As and Cd, alone or in combination, at two different concentrations (500 and 2000 μM) and monitored for 45 days. The growth parameters showed that all the plants survived until the end of experiment, with growth stimulation in the presence of low concentrations of As and Cd, relative to metal-free controls. Biomass production was mostly allocated in the roots in As treatment and in the shoots in Cd treatment. Cd EXAFS analysis showed that tolerance to high concentrations of both metals was likely linked to complexation of Cd with oxygen-containing ligands, possibly organic acids, in both root and leaf biomass with differences in behaviour among genotypes. Under As+Cd contamination, the ability of the plants to translocate As to aboveground system increased also showing that, for both metal(loid)s, there were significant differences between genotypes studied. Moreover, the results showed that Cynara cardunculus var. sylvestris collected in an industrial area is the genotype that, among those studied, had the best phytoextraction capability for each metal(loid).
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental science and pollution research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


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