Despite the fact that cadmium (Cd) is a non-essential element for plants, it can influence nutrients and affect human health. Potassium (K) can influence the transportation of heavy metals (HMs) in soil-plant systems. Here, a greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect
of Cd and K fertilizers on the different partitioning forms of HMs, their concentrations, uptake in the shoots and roots of Ocimum basilicum. Treatments comprised 2 levels of Cd (0 and 40 mg kg−1) and three levels of K (0, 100, and 200 mg kg−1)
from three sources, i.e. KCl, K2SO4, and K-nano-chelate. 40 mg Cd kg−1 increased the shoot (above ground parts) Cd concentration. Addition of K as KCl, K2SO4, and K-nano-chelate increased the presence of Cd in shoots by 86,
82 and 76%, respectively, compared to the control. Using the nano-chelate of K can increase the accumulation of Cd in plants grown on contaminated soils to lesser content than that of the other forms of K. Application of 40 mg Cd kg−1 reduced the concentration of Zn,
Cu, and Mn in the shoot, but increased shoot Fe concentration. Transfer factor (TF), which is the ratio of metal concentration in shoot to its concentration in root, of the studied HMs, was significantly affected by Cd and K treatments. Therefore, the proper form and dose of chemical fertilizers
should be applied in Cd-contaminated soils.
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