PloS one

Variations in metal tolerance and accumulation in three hydroponically cultivated varieties of Salix integra treated with lead.

PMID 25268840


Willow species have been suggested for use in the remediation of contaminated soils due to their high biomass production, fast growth, and high accumulation of heavy metals. The tolerance and accumulation of metals may vary among willow species and varieties, and the assessment of this variability is vital for selecting willow species/varieties for phytoremediation applications. Here, we examined the variations in lead (Pb) tolerance and accumulation of three cultivated varieties of Salix integra (Weishanhu, Yizhibi and Dahongtou), a shrub willow native to northeastern China, using hydroponic culture in a greenhouse. In general, the tolerance and accumulation of Pb varied among the three willow varieties depending on the Pb concentration. All three varieties had a high tolerance index (TI) and EC50 value (the effective concentration of Pb in the nutrient solution that caused a 50% inhibition on biomass production), but a low translocation factor (TF), indicating that Pb sequestration is mainly restricted in the roots of S. integra. Among the three varieties, Dahogntou was more sensitive to the increased Pb concentration than the other two varieties, with the lowest EC50 and TI for root and above-ground tissues. In this respect, Weishanhu and Yizhibi were more suitable for phytostabilization of Pb-contaminated soils. However, our findings also indicated the importance of considering the toxicity symptoms when selecting willow varieties for the use of phytoremediation, since we also found that the three varieties revealed various toxicity symptoms of leaf wilting, chlorosis and inhibition of shoot and root growth under the higher Pb concentrations. Such symptoms could be considered as a supplementary index in screening tests.