Natural and chemically enhanced phytoextraction potentials of maize (Zea mays L.) and sesbania (Sesbania aculeata Willd.) were explored by growing them on two soils contaminated with heavy metals. The soils, Gujranwala (fine, loamy, mixed, hyperthermic Udic Haplustalf) and Pacca (fine, mixed, hyperthermic Ustollic Camborthid), were amended with varying amounts of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelating agent, at 0, 1.25, 2.5, and 5.0 mM kg(-1) soil to enhance metal solubility. The EDTA was applied in two split applications at 46 and 60 days after sowing (DAS). The plants were harvested at 75 DAS. Addition of EDTA significantly increased the lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in roots and shoots, uptake, bioconcentration factor, and phytoextraction rate over the control. Furthermore, addition of EDTA also significantly increased the soluble fractions of Pb and Cd in soil over the controls; the maximum increase of Pb and Cd was 13.1-fold and 3.1-fold, respectively, with addition of 5.0 mM EDTA kg(-1)soil. Similarly, the maximum Pb and Cd root and shoot concentrations, translocation, bioconcentration, and phytoextraction efficiency were observed at 5.0 mM EDTA kg(-1) soil. The results suggest that both crops can successfully be used for phytoremediation of metal-contaminated calcareous soils.
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