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Heavy Metal Uptake by Willow Clones from Sewage Sludge-Treated Soil: The Potential for Phytoremediation

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Willow ( Salix spp.) has shown potential for use in the phytoremediation of soil contaminated with heavy metals. In particular, it can be grown in short rotation coppice systems to produce biomass that can be used for energy production. Twenty different species or varieties of willow, grown over 2 years (1995 to 1997) on a soil that was highly contaminated with heavy metals due to long-term sewage sludge disposal, showed considerable variation in survival, biomass production and metal uptake. The willows could be divided into two groups after the first harvest. One group had relatively low Ni and Cu in the bark and high Cd and Zn in the wood, with a good survival rate and biomass production. This group partitioned Cu, Cd, and Zn into the wood tissue from the bark, whereas Ni was excluded. The second group had relatively high Ni and Cu in the bark and low Cd and Zn in the wood and performed poorly in terms of survival and biomass production. Of the 20 types of willow used, 11 showed potential for use in phytoremediation, combining good survival and biomass production with high metal uptake. Of the others, 2 failed to survive until the second harvest and the other 7 had very poor survival rates.
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Keywords: biomass energy; metal tolerance; short rotation coppice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental, Agricultural and Analytical Chemistry Section, Chemistry Department, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK 2: Soil, Waste and Groundwater Group, WRc plc, Medmenham, Henley Road, Marlow, SL7 2HD, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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