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Technical Note: Phytoremediation of Hg and Cd from Industrial Effluents using an Aquatic Free Floating Macrophyte Azolla Pinnata

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The level of heavy metal pollution in Singrauli, an industrial region in India, was assessed and the phytoremediation capacity of a small water fern, Azolla pinnata R.Br (Azollaceae), was observed to purify waters polluted by two heavy metals, i.e., mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) under a microcosm condition. Azolla pinnata is endemic to India and is an abundant and easy-growing free-floating water fern usually found in the rice fields, polluted ponds, and reservoirs of India. The fern was grown in 24 40-L aquariums containing Hg2+ and Cd2+ ions each in concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, and 3.0 mgL-1 during the course of this study. The study revealed an inhibition of Azolla pinnata growth by 27.0-33.9% with the highest in the presence of Hg (II) ions at 0.5 mgL-1 in comparison to the control. After 13 days of the experiment, metal contents in the solution were decreased up to 70-94%. In the tissues of Azolla pinnata, the concentration of selected heavy metals during investigation was recorded between 310 and 740 mgKg-1 dry mass, with the highest level found for Cd (II) treatment at 3.0 mgL-1 containing a metal solution.
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Keywords: Azolla; biofertilizer; chlor-alkali effluent; heavy metals; phytoremediation; thermal power plant

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Forest Ecology, Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences, Mizoram University,

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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