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