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Potential of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) for phytoremediation of mine tailings and oil production.

Journal of environmental management (2012-11-23)
Alejandro Ruiz Olivares, Rogelio Carrillo-González, Ma del Carmen A González-Chávez, Ramón Marcos Soto Hernández
ABSTRACT

Bioenergy production combined with phytoremediation has been suggested to help in solving two critical world problems: the gradual reduction of fossil fuels and soil contamination. The aim of this research was to investigate the potential for the use of Ricinus communis L. (castor oil plant) as an energy crop and plant species to remediate metal-polluted sites. This study was performed in mine tailings containing high concentrations of Cu, Zn, Mn, Pb and Cd. Physico-chemical characterization, total, DTPA-extractable and water-soluble metals in rhizospheric tailings heap samples were carried. Metal concentrations in plant tissues and translocation factors (TFs) were also determined. The Ricinus seed-oil content was high between 41 and 64%, seeds from San Francisco site 6 had the highest oil content, while these from site 7 had the lowest. No trend between oil yield vs seed origin site was observed. Seed-oil content was negatively correlated with root concentration of Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd, but no correlation was observed with the extractable-metals. According to its shoot metal concentrations and TFs, castor bean is not a metal accumulator plant. This primary colonizing plant is well suited to cope with the local toxic conditions and can be useful for the stabilization of these residues, and for then decreasing metal bioavailability, dispersion and human health risks on these barren tailings heaps and in the surrounding area. Our work is the first report regarding combined oil production and a phytostabilization role for Ricinus plants in metal mine tailings and may give a new value to suitable metal-polluted areas.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Castor oil
Sigma-Aldrich
Castor oil, meets testing specifications per USP
Sigma-Aldrich
Castor oil, tested according to Ph. Eur.