Phytoremediation of mercury-contaminated soils by Jatropha curcas

Chemosphere. 2015 May;127:58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.073. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


Jatropha curcas plants species were tested to evaluate their phytoremediation capacity in soils contaminated by different levels of mercury. The experimental treatments consisted of four levels of mercury concentrations in the soil - T0, T1, T5, and T10 (0, 1, 5, and 10 μg Hg per g soil, respectively). The total mercury content absorbed by the different plant tissues (roots, stems and leaves) was determined during four months of exposure. The growth behavior, mercury accumulation, translocation (TF) and bioconcentration (BCF) factors were determined. The different tissues in J. curcas can be classified in order of decreasing accumulation Hg as follows: roots>leaves>stems. The highest cumulative absorption of the metal occurred between the second and third month of exposure. Maximum TF was detected during the second month and ranged from 0.79 to 1.04 for the different mercury concentrations. Values of BCF ranged from 0.21 to 1.43. Soils with T1 showed significantly higher BCF (1.43) followed by T10 (1.32) and T5 (0.91), all of them at the fourth month. On the other hand TFs were low (range 0.10-0.26) at the en of the experiment. The maximum reduction of biomass (16.3%) occurred for T10 (10 μg Hg g(-1)). In sum, J. curcas species showed high BCFs and low TFs, and their use could be a promising approach to remediating mercury-contaminated soils.

Keywords: Bioconcentration factor; Gold mining; Jatropha curcas; Mercury; Phytoremediation; Translocation factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods*
  • Jatropha / metabolism*
  • Mercury / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism*


  • Soil Pollutants
  • Mercury