Plants from the abandoned Nacozari mine tailings: evaluation of their phytostabilization potential
AuthorSantos, Alina E.
Romero, Francisco M.
Sanchez-Escalante, Jose Jesus
Maier, Raina M.
Neilson, Julia W.
Alcaraz, Luis David
Molina Freaner, Francisco E.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Soil Water & Environm Sci
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPlants from the abandoned Nacozari mine tailings: evaluation of their phytostabilization potential 2017, 5:e3280 PeerJ
Rights© 2017 Santos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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AbstractPhytostabilization is a remediation technology that uses plants for in-situ stabilization of contamination in soils and mine tailings. The objective of this study was to identify native plant species with potential for phytostabilization of the abandoned mine tailings in Nacozari, Sonora in northern Mexico. A flora of 42 species in 16 families of angiosperms was recorded on the tailings site and the abundance of the most common perennial species was estimated. Four of the five abundant perennial species showed evidence of regeneration: the ability to reproduce and establish new seedlings. A comparison of selected physicochemical properties of the tailings in vegetated patches with adjacent barren areas suggests that pH, electrical conductivity, texture, and concentration of potentially toxic elements do not limit plant distribution. For the most abundant species, the accumulation factor for most metals was <1, with the exception of Zn in two species. A short-term experiment on adaptation revealed limited evidence for the formation of local ecotypes in Prosopis velutina and Amaranthus watsonii . Overall, the results of this study indicate that five native plant species might have potential for phytostabilization of the Nacozari tailings and that seed could be collected locally to revegetate the site. More broadly, this study provides a methodology that can be used to identify native plants and evaluate their phytostabilization potential for similar mine tailings.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsUniversity of Arizona-Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Consortium on Drylands Research; Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigacion e Innovacion Tecnologica [UNAM-PAPIIT-IN209015]; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program [2 P42 ES04940]
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