Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Study on heavy metal absorption by plants

Valtcho Demirov Jeliazkov, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Two groups of container experiments were conducted to study heavy metal absorption by plants. The objectives of the first group of experiments were: (1) to evaluate the effect of Cd, Pb, and Cu, on productivity, essential oil content and quality of peppermint, basil, dill, and sage, and (2) to estimate metal transfer and accumulation in plant parts and in the essential oils. In the first experiment, elevated concentrations of Cd (2, 6, and 10 mg/L), Cu (20, 60, and 150 mg/L), and Pb (50, 100, and 500 mg/L) on basil, peppermint, and sage were evaluated. Cadmium and Pb did not decrease peppermint yields. The application of Cu. at 60 and 150 mg/L reduced yields compared to the control. Basil yields were reduced by application of Cd at 6 and 10 mg/L, Ph at 500 mg/L, and Cu at 20, 60, and 150 mg/L. Sage yields were reduced by Cd at 6 and 10 mg/L, Pb at 50, 100, and 500 mg/L, and by Cu. at 60, and 150 mg/L. All three plants developed phytotoxicity symptoms in the 150 mg/L Cu treatment. In the next experiment, the following concentrations were applied to peppermint and basil growth medium (in mg/L): Cd 10; Pb 100; Cu 100; Cd 10 + Ph 100; Cd 10 + Cu 100; Ph 100 + Cu 100; Cd 10 + Ph 100 + Cu 100; and control (without metal addition). The following metal concentrations were applied to the growth medium of dill (in mg/L): Cd at 2, 6, and 10; Pb at 50, 100, and 500; Cu at 20, 60, and 150, and a control (without metal addition). Neither of the compost treatments resulted in toxic tissue concentration of heavy metals. Both compost and heavy metal applications induced alterations in the essential oil constituents of peppermint, dill, basil, and sage, without a clear trend. However, the essential oils from the four plants from all treatments were not polluted with Cd, Cu, and Pb. In conclusion, peppermint, dill, basil, and sage could be grown in metal polluted soils as cash crops or for phytoremediation, without risk of contamination of the end product, the essential oils. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Agronomy|Soil sciences

Recommended Citation

Jeliazkov, Valtcho Demirov, "Study on heavy metal absorption by plants" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3012144.