The soil-plant system, as a key part of the environment, can play a crucial role for achieving one of the goals of the European Green Deal, “A zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment”. Soils are the basis of terrestrial ecosystems and a crossroad of biogeochemical cycles at the lithosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-atmosphere interface. However, soils are a limited and fragile resource. Soil health and quality is crucial for food quality production as well as to contribute to boost biodiversity. Soil pollution is, together with other threats (e.g. soil erosion, soil compaction, loss of organic matter), one of the most important concerns contributing for soil degradation and biodiversity loss. Human activities are the sources of soil pollution, such as, the mismanagement of industrial agriculture and mining activities, sewage and waste disposal, contributing to increase the concentration of potentially toxic substances (metals/metalloids, radionuclides and organic compound) in the ecosystems.
Remediation techniques are considered as cost-effective and environmentally friendly technologies for the in situ restoration of the health and productive capacity of soils, mitigating environmental impacts of impaired soils, and last but not least, the recovery of raw materials. Phytoremediation that consider the soil-plant system and particularly the rhizosphere area and soil biota, are effective approaches towards the recovery of polluted soils. These recovery techniques should be introduced and encouraged as they are more environmentally friendly, sustainable and affordable.
Bioremediation and biomining techniques involve the i) extraction of inorganic pollutants or economically valuable elements from soils or technogenic substrates , ii) stabilization of potentially toxic elements in the root zone of plants as well as iii) the microbial degradation of organic pollutants. Optimization and establishment of these technologies requires a sound understanding of soil-associated factors and plant-associated factors as well as root-soil-microbial interactions in the rhizosphere of plants controlling the mobility and availability of the target compounds in soils.

Co-organized by BG3
Convener: Maria Manuela Abreu | Co-conveners: Jaume Bech, Jelena Dragisic Maksimovic, Elena Korobova, Carmen Pérez-Sirvent, Erika Santos, Balázs Székely, Oliver Wiche
vPICO presentations
| Fri, 30 Apr, 13:30–15:00 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Fri, 30 Apr

Chairpersons: Maria Manuela Abreu, Oliver Wiche, Elena Korobova
juyeon Lee and minjune Yang

This study conducted a rhizofiltration experiment for uranium-removal with the edible plants (Lactuca sativa, Brassica campestris L., Raphanus sativus L., and Oenanthe javanica) which generally consumed in South Korea. Various batch experiments were performed with different initial uranium concentrations, pH conditions, and genuine groundwater. The results showed the uranium accumulation and bioconcentration factor (BCF) of plant roots increase with an increase in initial uranium concentrations in the solution. Of the four plants, the amount of uranium accumulated in Raphanus sativus L. roots was 1215.8 μg/g DW with the maximum BCF value of 2692.7. The BCF value based on various pH conditions (pHs 3, 5, 7 and 9) of artificial solutions was highest at pH 3 for all four plants, and the BCF value of Brassica campestris L. was the maximum of 11580.3 at pH 3. As a result of rhizofiltration experiments with genuine groundwater contaminated with uranium, the BCF values of Raphanus sativus L. were 1684.7 and 1700.1, the highest among the four species, in Oesam-dong and Bugokdong groundwater samples with uranium concentration of 83 and 173 μg/L. From SEM/EDS analysis, it was confirmed that uranium in contaminated groundwater was adsorbed as a solid phase on the root surface. These results demonstrate that Raphanus sativus L. not only has a high tolerance to high concentrations of uranium and low pH conditions but also has a remarkable potential for uranium accumulation capacity.

How to cite: Lee, J. and Yang, M.: The Use of Edible Plants for Rhizofiltration under Different Hydroponic Conditions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3764,, 2021.

Luísa C. Carvalho, Erika Santos, Jorge A. Saraiva, and Maria Manuela Abreu

Mine waste heaps can be considered extreme environments, due to their high concentrations of potentially hazardous elements (PHE). When PHE are combined with adverse physical characteristics and low contents of organic matter and nutrients, the development of the majority of plant species is impaired and the biodiversity of the area is severely reduced. The abandoned São Domingos mining area represents such an environment. It is located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (South of the Iberian Peninsula) and has one of the largest concentrations of polymetallic massive sulfide deposits in Europe.

Some autochthonous plant species are well adapted to extreme environments and are able to grow naturally in degraded areas, contributing to minimize the negative chemical impacts and improve the landscape quality. However, the environmental rehabilitation processes associated to the development of these plants (phytostabilization) are very slow and the combined use of materials/wastes that improve some physico-chemical characteristics of the matrix is necessary. This work studied the physiological response of C. salvifoliius, an autochthonous species, tolerant to growth in harsh environments, when grown in gossan mine wastes from the mine of São Domingos amended with organic/inorganic wastes. The amendments used were (g/kg of gossan): biomass ash (BA, 2.5), a mixture of organic residues (OR, 120) and a mixture of both (BA+OR).

The amendments that comprised organic wastes (OR and BA+OR) gave rise to the best vegetative development, without visible signs of toxicity and with the lowest concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Plants grown in the presence of organic wastes also had better levels of cell redox status and a large pool of antioxidants. Although both roots and shoots of these plants had low levels of H2O2, in roots, both glutathione and ascorbate had high levels of oxidation.

A successful environmental rehabilitation has to take into account both the amendments applied and also the growth and the ability of the plant cover to adapt to the adverse environmental conditions imposed upon it. Cistus salvifoliius was able to grow better and withstand the high PHE levels of the gossan material when organic matter was used as amendment. In those conditions, the plants had a more functional anti-oxidative system that enabled them to cope with oxidative stress. A better plant cover was achieved and chemical properties of the mine wastes were improved, such as lower concentrations of PHE in the available fraction, higher fertility and water-holding capacity.

How to cite: Carvalho, L. C., Santos, E., Saraiva, J. A., and Abreu, M. M.: Anti-oxidative response of Cistus salviifolius L. grown in gossan mine wastes amended with ash and organic residues, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8047,, 2021.

Rubén Forján Castro, Diego Baragaño Coto, Daniel Arenas Lago, José Luis Rodríguez Gallego, and Erika Silva Santos

In active mines areas without environmental management plans or abandoned mines, the mineral processing and mining-waste disposal are common sources of pollution that can affect large areas comprising soils and waters. Inevitably this situation leads to a degradation of plant cover whether natural or planted. Thus, a sustainable recovery of mine tailings and contaminated soils, located inside or surrounding the mine area is necessary, especially with innovative strategies for in situ elements stabilization. Within different stabilization options, nanoremediation, i.e. amending with nanomaterials (usually Fe-based nanoparticles) alone or combined with other amendments, is an interesting approach. Most of the studies are focused on the immobilization of metal(oid)s by nanoparticles, however only a few works assess the effects of these amendments on contaminated soils on their microbiology and plants. For these reasons, the main scope of this study was the assessment of some biological indicators, namely several enzymatic activities in soils and plant development, of a contaminated mine soil amended with two different types of commercial nanoparticles (iron nanoparticles nZVI and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles) and their combinations with biochar (by PYREG Carbon Technology Solutions, was made from wood following the PYREG® methodology). The studied soil belongs to a broad mining area in NW Spain and it revealed high total concentrations of Cu and As (5000 and 300 mg/kg, respectively). The mine soil was amended in a factorial experiment in pots assay, under controlled conditions in greenhouse, with iron nanoparticles (nZVI), hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (nHP), biochar, and the combination of nZVI+biochar and nHP+biochar. In these pots was sown a commercial mixture of herbaceous plant species for pasture being monitored for 45 days. Plant cover was determined and once this assay time had elapsed, four enzymatic activities (dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase, acid phosphatase and urease) of the soil and biomass weight was analyzed.

Only rye grass germinated. Same result was verified in the pot assay and independently of treatment. Plant cover in all treatments was similar reaching more than 80 %, however dry plant biomass varied. Notable differences were observed in the enzymatic activity among the soil amended only with nanoparticles, the soil amended with the combination of nanoparticles and biochar or biochar alone. In general, the application of studied amendments, alone or combined and compared to the control, increased the functioning of the overall microbial community and microbial communities associated to C and N cycling. The soil amended with biochar and biochar combined with nanoparticles presented a greater enzymatic activities in the soil compared to the direct application of nanoparticles. A differentiation in the some enzymatic activities (e.g. dehydrogenase and urease) with the nanoparticles type was verified.


Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the research project NANOCAREM MCI-20-PID2019-106939GB-I00 (AEI/FEDER, UE) and Portuguese funds through Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the scope of the project UID/AGR/04129/2020 (LEAF). The authors thanks the grants: Arenas-Lago D. (postdoc contract ED481D 2019/007) and Baragaño D. (Formación del Profesorado Universitario program) financed by of Xunta de Galicia and Universidade de Vigo and Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte de España, respectively.


How to cite: Forján Castro, R., Baragaño Coto, D., Arenas Lago, D., Rodríguez Gallego, J. L., and Silva Santos, E.: Effects of different nanoparticles and biochar application on the biological indicators of a polluted mine soil, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8247,, 2021.

Sabina Rossini-Oliva, Erika S. Santos, and Maria Manuela Abreu

In many countries is quite common that abandoned mines are close to agricultural areas and might be used for plant food cultivation or animal grazing. However, soils adjacent to mining areas and/or developed on mine wastes can be a source of potentially toxic elements (PTE) for plants. This might be a potentially risk for human and animal health needing to be monitored before taking a decision.

Ferragudo is an abandoned Fe–Mn mine located in SW of Portugal (Beja district) considered with intermediate level of environmental hazard impact due to small volumes of mine wastes with relatively low total concentrations of PTE, except for Mn. In this area holm oak woodland was implemented and soils are usually used for grassland. Animals such as cow, sheep and goat graze in this mining area. Chemical characterization of soil-plant system and potential human health risks of the plants associated with soil contamination were assessed. Samples of oak and grass (total n=8 each) were collected (spring 2017) and composite soil samples around plants, up to 10 cm depth were also collected. Soil properties were analyzed and concentrations of macro and micronutrients in soils and plants (shoots) were determined.

No statistical differences were observed between soils around grass and oak for all the studied parameters. Soils had a pH close to neutral and a good fertility. The mean total content in soils was 86.12 and 88.36 g Mn/kg, and 47.58 and 48.45 g Fe/kg around grass and oak, respectively. These values are higher than the average concentrations in non-contaminated soils of the region (0.74 g Mn/kg and 36.83 g Fe/kg). The Mn and Fe concentration in the soils available fraction (Rhizo method) was lower compared to total (397–441 mg Mn/kg and 18–11 mg Fe/kg in oak and grass, respectively). The concentration in the available fraction of other potentially toxic elements such as Cu and Zn was very low. Although the soils had high concentrations of Mn and Fe, the plant cover is significant and soils are totally colonized by herbaceous plants. Studied species showed a different accumulation pattern for the studied elements except for Cu. Quercus ilex showed concentrations of Fe in leaves (mean 158 mg/kg) lower than in grasses (mean 272 mg Fe/kg) while the opposite pattern was observed for Mn (mean 1363 mg/kg for oak and 353 mg/kg for grasses). Manganese concentrations in oak leaves were much greater than the normal range for mature leaf tissues but non-toxic for cattle and other domestic animals. The Fe concentration in the aerial part of both plants was much lower than the maximum tolerable value for cattle, sheep and poultry and also lower than the range considered normal for plants. Copper and Zn concentration in oak and grass was below the normal values for plants and lower than toxic levels for cattle. The concentration of Mn and Fe in the aerial parts of the studied plant species did not reach toxic levels for animal graze, indicating that these soils can be used for pasture.

How to cite: Rossini-Oliva, S., Santos, E. S., and Abreu, M. M.: Possibility to use soils from abandoned mining area for agricultural aims, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9097,, 2021.

Daniel Arenas Lago, Luisa C Carvalho, Erika S Santos, and Maria Manuela Abreu

Metal mining is one of the activities that causes the greatest problems of environmental pollution around the world. The main consequences derived from this activity are the degradation of soils, and alteration/destruction of vegetation, hydrology, fauna, microclimate, topography and landscape quality. In South-East of the Iberian Peninsula is located the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), one of the most important volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposits in the world. The opencast and underground mining activities in this area generated large amounts of waste materials with high total concentrations of metal(loid)s. These materials also present other chemical and physical characteristics adverse to plant development such as low pH, water holding capacity, available nutrients and organic matter content, and unfavourable texture. However, some species have developed mechanisms of response to these stress conditions and have colonised spontaneously some contaminated soils/wastes in these areas from the IPB. In this study, we have investigated physiological behaviour of Cistus monspeliensis, a shrub adapted to Mediterranean conditions that grows in several contaminated and non-contaminated areas from the IPB, with the aim whether what are the key drivers for the unravelling of different physiological responses: the origin of the plants or the conditions of the growth medium. For this, seeds of C. monspeliensis were sampled in São Domingos mine (CmSD) and in an uncontaminated area from Caldeirão (CmCald) (SE of Portugal). Seeds were germinated in Petri dishes and subsequently the seedlings from both areas were planted in a contaminated soil developed on a gossan (CS) and in an uncontaminated soil (US) under controlled conditions in a greenhouse. Multielemental concentrations were determined in soils (total and available fractions) and plants (shoots). Germination rate, shoot height and dry biomass were measured, as well as pigments, glutathione, ascorbate and H2O2 contents were analysed in plant shoots. Total concentrations of As, Cr, Cu, Pb and Sb in CS exceed the intervention and maximum limits for ecosystem protection and human health. Preliminary results showed that there were not significant differences in the germination rate among assays (CmSD–CS, CmSD–US, CmCald–CS, CmCald–US). After two months growing, C. monspeliensis from both origins showed slightly higher height and biomass in US than CS. The leaf size did not show significant differences among the different assays. The CmCald plants were adapted to the mine soil conditions without showing toxicity symptoms and with a development similar to CmSD plants. In general, no significant differences were found for pigments among plant-soil assays, while H2O2 content slightly increased in individuals planted in CS soil independently of seeds origin. In addition, the increase of oxidative stress in C. monspeliensis in CS caused the activation of ascorbate and glutathione production to maintain the cell’s redox state. Therefore, our study shows that C. monspeliensis, regardless of its origin, has the ability to tolerate contaminated environments with high total content of metal(oid)s. This statement is a very important point for mine soil recovery plans.

This research was supported by ED481D 2019/007 project (Xunta de Galicia) supporting Arenas-Lago D. through his postdoc contract.

How to cite: Arenas Lago, D., Carvalho, L. C., Santos, E. S., and Abreu, M. M.: May the origin of Cistus monspeliensis seeds determine its behaviour as a phytoremediator species for mine soils? , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9609,, 2021.

Patrícia Vidigal, Marino Pedro Reyes-Martín, and Maria Manuela Abreu

Land represents 29% of the earth surface, and 71% of which  is habitable, but only 50% is suitable for agricultural, which makes agricultural land a valuable  and finite natural resource that has been experiencing increasing pressure to respond to food, feed, industrial and population housing needs. Thus, it is necessary to change the way in which we eat and live. Mismanagement of agricultural inputs together with the improvement of human living standards and urbanization has stimulated the demand and market potential of mining and quarrying market, which has promoted the occurrence of contaminated soils with potentially hazardous elements (PTE). The recovery of marginal lands, such as salt and drought prone lands, or even abandoned mining areas could be a potential strategy to decrease the pressure over the remaining agricultural land, whilst promoting ecosystem biodiversity. The recovery of mining areas, although still controversial, it is not totally dismissible because one has to increase the knowledge of plant species that could aid in the recovery of soil contaminated PTE whilst offering alternative industrial agricultural outputs. There has been increasing efforts to create sustainable ecotechnologies to rehabilitate mining areas and create conditions for agriculture activities while protecting the food-chain. Phytostabilization is an ecotechnology towards rehabilitation, based on pedo-engineering in which Technosols are built from organic/inorganic and mine wastes (e.g. gossan), thus promoting circular economy. The effectiveness of Technosols in improving the physico-chemical characteristics of mining wastes and in the decrease of their leachates has been widely proven, especially when soil-plant systems are taken into account. Our experiment with Technosols and a multifunctional legume hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet) showed just that. Hyacinth bean is one of the 101 orphan crops that recently have been recognized as crops for the future, due to the prospective they hold as food, feed, nutritional content and multiple agricultural outputs. Our Technosols built with organic and inorganic wastes collected from nearby industries, together with gossan material, improved the physico-chemical and biological properties of the gossan, as well as they decreased the bioavailability of PTE (As, Pb, Zn, Cu) in the soil available fraction, making it possible for hyacinth bean to develop. Our Technosols showed increased content in NPK and Corg, which was concurrent with a significant increase of soil enzymes activity, proving soil quality enhancement aiding hyacinth bean development. Moreover, hyacinth bean grown in Technosols showed an impressive shoot and root development in comparison with hyacinth bean grown in gossan. The PTE translocation (root to shoot) and accumulation (soil to shoot) coefficients values of this legume grown in Technosols indicated low PTE concentrations in the shoot, which are compatible with the potential of hyacinth bean for the rehabilitation of contaminated soils, whilst offering alternative revenues (e.g. feed). Hence, these results show the value that this orphan crop has when allied with a promising ecotechnology that contributes to promote circular economy, towards the new European Green Deal policy framework.

How to cite: Vidigal, P., Reyes-Martín, M. P., and Abreu, M. M.: Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet soil-plant system towards the recovery of marginal lands, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10190,, 2021.

Svetlana Sushkova, Andrey Barbashev, Tatiana Minkina, Tamara Dudnikova, Elena Antonenko, Valeryi Kalinitchenko, Iliya Lobzenko, Vishnu Rajput, Chernikova Natalya, Deryabkina Irina, Antonenko Svetlana, Coskun Gulser, and Ridvan Kizilkaya

Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is one of the most dangerous organic pollutants, a representative of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons class, a carcinogen and mutagen of the I danger class. BaP content must be obligatory controlled in all natural environments. During BaP sorption on the soil surface, it is involving in the migration processes in the soil profile and the soil-plant system uptake. Plants are exposed to BaP, and almost 45% of the toxicant in the atmosphere could be accumulated by plants. The soil - plant system is an important object of the environmental pollution control, as it reveals the process of distribution, transformation, and accumulation of BaP in plants and soil. The aim of this work was to study the BaP accumulation in tomato plants (Solánum lycopérsicum) under the conditions of a model vegetation experiment.

The studies were carried out under the conditions of a vegetation experiment. The Haplic Chernozem soil was sifted through a sieve with a diameter of 1 mm and placed by 2 kg in 4 L pots. A BaP solution in acetonitrile was added to the soil surface based on the creation of a pollutant concentration in the soil of 400 μg kg-1. The original uncontaminated Haplic Chernozem was used as a control. The soil was sown with tomato plants (Solánum lycopérsicum) of the early maturing variety White filling 241. The experiment was replicated three times. The content of BaP in the soil of the control sample was 17.8 μg kg-1, in tomato roots - 2 μg kg-1, in the vegetative part of tomato - 1.0 μg kg-1, in the fruits of plants the value was equal to 0.3 μg kg-1.

Addition of the 400 μg kg-1 BaP increased it’s content in the soil to 369 μg kg-1. The accumulation of pollutant in the roots of the tomato plants was 244.5 μg kg-1, and in the stems and fruits it reached 130.2 and 55.1 μg kg-1, respectively, which greatly exceeded the control values. In the soil contaminated with BaP, the excess of the pollutant concentration relative to the control sample was 20 times. In the roots of tomato plants, the excess of the pollutant concentration relative to the control was 120 times, and in stems and fruits, the concentration excess relative to the control sample was 130 and 180 times, respectively.

Thus, there was an accumulation of the pollutant in tomato plants when the soil was contaminated with 400 μg kg-1 BaP. The highest concentration of BaP was found for tomato roots and exceeded control content in more than 12 times. In plant stems, the concentration of BaP reached 130.2 μg kg-1, and in tomato vegetative part the concentration of BaP was 55.1 μg kg-1, which corresponds to 55 MPC for food products.

The research was financially supported by the Russian Science Foundation project no. 19-74-10046.

How to cite: Sushkova, S., Barbashev, A., Minkina, T., Dudnikova, T., Antonenko, E., Kalinitchenko, V., Lobzenko, I., Rajput, V., Natalya, C., Irina, D., Svetlana, A., Gulser, C., and Kizilkaya, R.: Benzo[a]pyrene accumulation in tomato plants (Solanum Lycopersicum) under the model vegetation experience, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10356,, 2021.

Jelena Dragisic Maksimovic, Milos Mojovic, and Vuk Maksimovic

An impressive body of Si research could be found in the literature despite the fact that, from a biochemical perspective, Si is a “monotonous” element largely uncharged and unreactive at physiological pH (forming mostly silicates and SiO2 polymers). However, the detailed role of Si in plants remains unexploited, particularly the potential for its practical application. One of the main properties of Si intensively explored is the protection mechanism(s) against biotic and abiotic stresses, especially heavy metal stress. To investigate the effect of Si application on the Mn binding potential of the leaf apoplast, cucumber plants were grown in nutrient solutions with optimal (0.5 µM) or excessive (100 µM) Mn concentrations with or without Si supply to roots. Leaves were subjected to fractionated extraction of Mn revealing a relative distribution of Mn fractions in cucumber leaves: water-extractable (WE) Mn represents the soluble fraction in the cell walls; the protein-bound (PB) Mn fraction originates mostly from the symplast; while the cell wall-bound (CWB) Mn fraction represents Mn which is fixed to the wall structure. After the high Mn supply (100 µM), the concentration of WE Mn was 10-fold higher compared to control, while the relative proportion of the WE Mn fraction decreased from 56% in control to 23% in high Mn treatment. Si application did not affect WE and PB Mn fractions in the control treatment but significantly decreased these fractions in the high Mn treatment. On the other hand, the CWB Mn significantly increased in the leaves of Si-fed plants. Data obtained by fractionated Mn extraction are consistent with the relative proportion of free and bound Mn, estimated from the recorded electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) signals of Mn2+. The EPR spectrum of a high spin Mn2+ showed the characteristic six hyperfine lines whose intensity correlated with Mn treatments and, consequently, leaf concentrations of Mn. The results presented here demonstrated that Si supply increased the Mn binding properties of leaf cell walls in cucumber plants with simultaneously decreasing of the free apoplastic Mn2+, indicating the protective role of Si in smothering harmful (inter)actions of free Mn2+ within plant tissue. Taken together, the leaf apoplast plays the central role in modulation of Mn toxicity and Si enhanced Mn tolerance in cucumber.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Contract No. 451-03-68/2020-14/200053).

How to cite: Dragisic Maksimovic, J., Mojovic, M., and Maksimovic, V.: Silicon‐mediated manganese tolerance of cucumber: the apoplastic modulation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10994,, 2021.

Nazia Zaffar, Erik Ferchau, Hermann Heilmeier, and Oliver Wiche

Bioharvesting of toxic and valuable elements by growing high biomass crops in the regions with low-grade mining ores and metal-polluted soils is a new concept in the area of mining termed phytomining. The biomass is used in anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and digestate. To the best of our knowledge, there are limited studies on the enrichment and distribution of heavy metals and economically valuable elements in digestate, obtained from mesophilic and thermophilic fermentation conditions. This study conducted a laboratory experiment to recover and enrich toxic elements (Zn, Cd, Pb, As) and economically valuable elements (Ge and rare earth elements REEs) at mesophilic (37⁰C) and thermophilic (55⁰C) conditions. To analyze the distribution of these elements in the liquid and solid-state of digestate a three-step sequential extraction procedure was carried out. Microfiltration (0.2µm) was used to separate elements in the solid and liquid phases. The solid digestate was extracted with ammonium acetate (pH 7) and ammonium acetate (pH 5) to determine exchangeable and acid-soluble elements. As a result, we found that thermophilic conditions significantly enriched Zn (3%), Cd (48%), Pb (25%), As (21%), Ge (40%), and REEs (22%) compared to mesophilic conditions. The following elements were enriched in decreasing order Cd > Ge > Pb > REEs > As > Zn. This enrichment may be due to differences in availability of substrates to microorganisms and higher gas production with increased temperature. The sequential extraction revealed that the concentration of elements in dissolved form was significantly increased in thermophilic conditions. While the concentrations in exchangeable are decreased indicating that previous elements bound on exchangeable sites were removed and transferred in solution. Furthermore, the element concentration in the residue fraction was not affected by temperature. Possibly the release of secondary metabolites from microorganisms triggered by higher temperature improved the solubility of elements which is an important prerequisite for element separation and recovery.


How to cite: Zaffar, N., Ferchau, E., Heilmeier, H., and Wiche, O.: Influence of mesophilic and thermophilic on enrichment and chemical speciation of toxic and valuable elements in digestate, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11277,, 2021.

Natalia Chernikova, Victor Chaplygin, Dina Nevidomskaya, Karen Ghazaryan, Saglara Mandzhieva, Tatiana Minkina, Hasmik Movsesyan, Alexey Glinushkin, Valery Kalinichenko, Vladimir Beschetnikov, and Ilia Sazonov

The impact of inorganic pollutants in the zone of industrial wastewater settling tanks (South of Russia) was studied. The levels of Mn, Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd were determined for Verbascum thapsus L., which are part of the mesophilic succession of wild plants in the studied technogenically polluted territory. V. thapsus L. has been described as a species with great phenotypic plasticity and the capacity for ecotypic differentiation. The bioavailability of heavy metals (HM) for V. thapsus L. from transformed soils has been established. Anatomical and morphological features in the tissues of the plants affected by heavy metals were analyzed using light-optical and electron-microscopic methods. Contamination of the soil cover with Mn, Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd has been established with maximum content of Zn. The excess of the maximum permissible levels of pollution with Zn, Pb, Cr and Cd regulated in the Russian Federation was by 1.2, 16, 36 and 246 times higher, respectively analyzing V. thapsus L. The lower level of heavy metal content in the inflorescences in comparison with the root system, stems and leaves indicates the resistance of generative organs to technogenic pollution. In the root and leaves of V. thapsus L. the anatomical and ultrastructural observation was carried out using light-optical and transmission electron microscopy. Changes in the ultrastructure of plants under the influence of anthropogenic impact have been revealed. The most significant changes of the ultrastructure of the polluted plants were found in the cell organelles of leaves (mitochondria, plastids, peroxisomes, etc.) including the spatial transformation of the thylakoid system of plastids during the metal accumulation by plants. The study of the plant tissues role in the elements translocation and accumulation is necessary for understanding the mechanism of hyperaccumulation of HMs by plants.

The research was financially supported by the RFBR, projects no. 18-29-25071 and 20-55-05014.

How to cite: Chernikova, N., Chaplygin, V., Nevidomskaya, D., Ghazaryan, K., Mandzhieva, S., Minkina, T., Movsesyan, H., Glinushkin, A., Kalinichenko, V., Beschetnikov, V., and Sazonov, I.: Mechanism of hyperaccumulation of heavy metals by of Verbascum thapsus from soil, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12848,, 2021.

M. Clara F. Magalhães, Cândida Sarabando, Teresa M. Santos, and Maria Manuela Abreu

The large industrial utilization of chromium compounds originates heavy environmental and health risks concerns. Chromium has a double behavior, as Cr(III), is an essential element to living beings but also a very harmful carcinogenic as Cr(VI). Hexavalent chromium is a powerful oxidant easily reduced to chromium(III). The fact of the compounds of chromium(III) being considered kinetically inert induces their environmental abandon without any concerns about their real final fate. Nowadays there is an increasing interest on chromium bioremediation in soils.

Depending on soils composition, the interaction between the chromium(III) compounds and both organic and inorganic soil components can originate an increase of the solubility of the chromium(III) compounds together with acid-base and redox reactions. The change on the solubility of chromium compounds can be monitored from the composition of the soil solutions from where plants can have access to the ionic species of chemical elements. The presence of organic matter is usually associated to the existence of reducing environments, while the presence of manganese oxides is associated to oxidizing environments. Here is analysed the influence of these two environments in the composition of soil solutions and the consequent availability to plants, as well as the design of the soil remediation programs.

How to cite: Magalhães, M. C. F., Sarabando, C., Santos, T. M., and Abreu, M. M.: The fate of chromium in soils, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12882,, 2021.

Olga Gavrichkova, Dario Liberati, Viktoriya Varyushkina, Kristina Ivashchenko, Paolo De Angelis, and Viacheslav Vasenev

Release of heavy metals, salts and other toxic agents in the environment is of increasing concern in urban areas. Contaminants not solely decline the quality of the local environment and affect the health of human population and urban ecosystems but are also spread through runoff and leaching into non-contaminated areas. Urban lawns are the most distributed green infrastructure in the cities. Management of lawn system may either exacerbate the negative effects of contaminants on lawn functioning either help to withstand the toxic effects and maintain the lawn ecosystem health and the efficient release of ecosystem services.  

The aim of this study was to evaluate the interactions between the lawn management, the lawn functioning, and the release into the soil of typical urban contaminants. For this purpose, Festuca arundinacea grass was planted in a turf-sand mixture with and without amendment addition (zeolite + vermicompost). To reproduce the impact of traffic-related contaminants in proximity of the road, pots were treated with a solution containing de-icing salt (NaCl) and 6 heavy metals (Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, Cu, Ni), imitating road runoff solution. After contamination, half of pots was maintained at optimum soil water content (Smart irrigation), another half was left to periodical drying in order to simulate conditions with discontinuous watering (Periodical irrigation). The same experimental scheme was reproduced for unplanted soil. CO2 net ecosystem exchange (NEE), soil and ecosystem respiration as well as flux from unplanted soil (heterotrophic respiration) were measured shortly after the treatment (short-term) and up 3 months since the treatment start (long-term).

Soil amendment stimulated plant productivity and increased the efficiency of the system in C uptake (+56% NEE). A relevant reduction of NEE was observed from 14 to 40 days after the application of traffic-related contaminants in both amended and non amended pots. During this period the contaminants had the greatest impact on lawn NEE subjected to Periodic irrigation (-49% and -66% in amended and non amended pots, respectively), while lawn under Smart irrigation was less affected (-35% and -26% in amended and non amended pots, respectively). Different respiration sources (ecosystem respiration, soil respiration, heterotrophic respiration) were characterized by different sensitivity to management and contamination. Heterotrophic flux was not sensitive to soil amending but declined with contamination with enhanced negative effect under Smart irrigation. Response of ecosystem respiration to contamination was less pronounced in confront to soil respiration suggesting leaf-level buffering.    

Three months later,  the effect of contaminants on lawn gas exchange ceased for all treated pots. Instead, the irrigation effect persisted depending on whether pots were amended or not. In non amended pots NEE was reduced by 18% under Periodic irrigation, while this effect was not present in amended pots. We conclude, that performance of such green infrastructure as lawns in terms of C sequestration under multiple anthropogenic stressors could be efficiently improved through soil amending and irrigation control.

Current research was financially supported by RFBR No. 19-29-05187 and RSF No. 19-77-30012.

How to cite: Gavrichkova, O., Liberati, D., Varyushkina, V., Ivashchenko, K., De Angelis, P., and Vasenev, V.: Can management improve the lawn’s functioning in the conditions of multiple anthropogenic stressors?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13522,, 2021.

Nthati Monei, Oliver Wiche, Michael Hitch, and Hermann Heilmeier

This study aims to identify the effects of having narrow leaf lupine grown in a mixed culture with barley at different proportions when different treatment regimens are introduced to the plants. The effects of the usage of fertilizer, NK and NPK on the plants are determined, where the absence and presence and absence of phosphorus will be used to determine the variation in REE accumulation. Furthermore, to investigate how the carboxylate-based strategies for nutrient acquisition in the rhizosphere of Lupinus angustifolius, affect the availability of trace elements to the neighbouring species (in this case barley) and are traceable by rare earth element (REE) pattern.  Barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Modena) was cultivated with narrow leaf lupin (Lupinus angustifolius). The experimental design involved both a monoculture (L0) and mixed cultures, where barley was replaced with narrow leaf lupin at two different proportions 11 and 33 % (Lan 11 and Lan 33). To test the influence of fertilizer on the accumulation of REEs, the plants were further treated with two variated fertilizer options; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and on the contrary just N & K. Elemental concentrations within the leaves and stems of the barley were determined by ICP-MS. In the presence of P (NPK treatment) An increase in LREE is observed in the leaves of barley than in the stems. There is a statistically significant difference between L0 and Lan 11. HREE also shows an increased uptake in the leaves than in stems. The behaviour of both LREE and HREE from the NK treatment show a similar pattern for both stems and leaves, however, at lower concentrations than when P is present. From the obtained results we can conclude that the presence of P increases the availability of REEs, particularly LREE. Furthermore, intercropping with narrow leaf lupin positively influences the uptake of trace REEs, thus increasing their availability to adjacent plants.

How to cite: Monei, N., Wiche, O., Hitch, M., and Heilmeier, H.: Mixed cultures,a sustainable way to accelerate phytomining of rare earth elements, is there a future here?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13690,, 2021.

Precious Okoroafor, Lotte Mann, and Oliver Wiche

There are several regions of the world where soils are contaminated with potentially toxic elements (PTE) and/or have critical raw materials (CRM) that cannot be extracted through conventional raw material extraction techniques because of their low amounts. Phytoextraction- a kind of phytoremediation- offers good option or method to sustainably remediate these contaminated soils and extract these CRM from soils. The successful phytoextraction of these elements of interest from soil is dependent on their bioavailability for plant uptake and biomass production which could be increased by inoculating soil with plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and the element acquisition characteristics of the plant species used for phytoextraction. This study investigated the effect of the PGPR Bacillus amyloliquefaciens - FZB42 also called Rhizovital produced as spore’s formulation by ABiTEP on the phytoextraction efficiency of two selected species, Zea mays and Fagopyrum esculentum grown in potted soils under artificial lighting conditions for about 8 weeks in a laboratory. Results showed that for Fagopyrum esculentum, the inoculation of soil with Rhizovital increased the uptake of As, Cu, Pb and Co, Ni, Mg, K, P, La, Ce, Y, sum of Heavy Rare Earth Elements (HREE), sum of Light Rare Earth Elements (LREE) but significantly only for Cu and Co at alpha level 0.05 and insignificantly decreased the uptake for Ge. For Zea mays, results showed that inoculating soil with Rhizovital decreased uptake for all elements investigated and significantly so for only Co but showed an insignificant increasing effect on the uptake of Cu. For the two test species, similarity in effects of inoculation of soil with Rhizovital on uptake of elements only existed for Cu (increasing effect) and Ge (decreasing effect) suggesting that the addition of Rhizovital to soil could increase the Cu phytoextraction efficiency of Zea mays and Fagopyrum esculentum and decrease the phytoextraction efficiency of Germanium in both plants. Results from this research suggest that inoculation of soil with the PGPR Bacillus amyloliquefaciens - FZB42 could increase the phytoextraction of Copper by Zea mays and Fagopyrum esculentum respectively, thus enhancing the phytoextraction efficiency of both plants in soils contaminated by copper. Also, results suggest that inoculation of soil with Rhizovital could increase the phytoextraction efficiency of Fagopyrum esculentum for most of the PTEs and CRM investigated in this experiment and that Fagopyrum esculentum is a good candidate for PGPR assisted phytoextraction of PTE and CRM

How to cite: Okoroafor, P., Mann, L., and Wiche, O.: Effect of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria on Phytoextraction of Critical Raw Materials and Potentially Toxic Elements in Soil, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14825,, 2021.

Diego Arán, Maria Manuela Abreu, and Erika S. Santos

Nowadays, the strategy for the rehabilitation of contaminated areas must include environmental improvements in an integral way, i.e. all the components of the ecosystem (soil, water and vegetation), and an economic approach. This can be achieved with the combined application of designed Technosols, which are done with organic/inorganic residues without an economic value or valorisation, and an agriculture system with tolerant plants with commercial value. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of rosemary crop (Rosmarinus officinalis), a plant species with aromatic and medicinal plant, in a recovery system of sulfide-rich wastes based on the superficial application of Technosols (layer with 20 cm of depth). For this, a mesocosm assay under controlled conditions and greenhouse was carried out during 18 months. The transplant survival and development of rosemary and its ecophysiological status was evaluated as well as the chemical characteristics of the Technosol and mine wastes located under it. Value-added compounds in bioextracts obtained from plants also were evaluated.

The rosemary transplant had 100 % of survival in the Technosol and a great plant growth at medium-long term (18 months) was achieved (Height: 35-57 cm; Fresh biomass of shoots: 76.1-93.8 g). In fact, the plant development was significantly higher than in plants growing in peat under the same conditions (Height <36 cm; Fresh biomass of shoots: 24.1-40.9 g). The roots system in plants growing in the Technosol was dense and with significant growth reaching the mine wastes. This mine wastes already presented a chemical improvement as result of the superficial Technosol application. Plants from Technosol did not show visible signs of phytotoxicity or nutritional deficiency and elements concentrations in shoots were in normal range considered to general of plants species. The Technosol maintained the initial properties and characteristics. The rehabilitation system with a designed Technosol was efficient and can contribute to the recovery, economically atractive, of unproductive and contaminated areas through a rosemary crop.

Acknowledgment: This research was supported by Portuguese funds, through Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, within the scope of the project UID/AGR/04129/2020.

How to cite: Arán, D., Abreu, M. M., and Santos, E. S.: Potential of Rosemary crop in a recovery system of sulfide-rich wastes with designed Technosol, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15027,, 2021.

Maria Manuela Abreu, Erika Santos, Maria Balseiro-Romero, and Felipe Macías

Some autochthones plant species with aromatic and medicinal properties are able to naturally colonize contaminated soils from mining areas from Iberian Pyrite Belt contributing to their rehabilitation. A study was carried out in order to characterize and valorise an autochthones species, which has adequate ecophysiological behaviours for phytostabilization of mining areas, as new sources of bioactive substances. The main aims of this study were to: i) characterise the phytochemical profile of the bioextracts from shoots of L. pedunculata growing in soils from São Domingos mining area and a control area; and ii) evaluate the influence of potentially hazardous elements (PHEs) accumulated in the shoots on the quality of the bioextracts.

Composite samples of soils, developed on mine wastes and/or host rocks, as well as C Lavandula pedunculata shoots were collected in São Domingos mine (Iberian pyrite Belt, SE of Portugal) and in a reference area with non-contaminated soils and the same climatic conditions. Classical characterisation of soils and total concentrations of potentially hazardous elements in soils and plant shoots were determined. The bioextracts from Lavandula pedunculata shoots were obtained by an accelerated solvent extractor, and the compounds were analysed by GC-MS. Extracts were extracted with hexane and major components were quantified.

The total concentrations of some potentially hazardous elements (e.g. As, Cu, Pb and Zn) were higher in soils from São Domingos than in reference area. However, soils from São Domingos are considered as contaminated with As, Cu, Pb and Sb for agriculture and residential/parkland uses. Concentrations of the PHEs (excepted Cr and Mn) in the shoots collected in São Domingos mine were higher than in the non-contaminated area

In the L. pedunculata extracts, obtained in the single extraction with hexane, were identified 34 compounds accounting between 79 and 89 % of the total identified compounds. Camphor was the major component in all extracts but Fenchone, eucalyptol, verbenone, bornyl acetate, borneol and linalool oxide cis also showed considerable amounts. All these compounds present economic interest. Some variation was obtained in the qualitative composition of the L. pedunculata extracts but, in general, it was not clear the differentiation between populations and, consequently, soil contamination level and concentrations of the potentially hazardous elements in shoots. Environmental rehabilitation of mining areas from Iberian Pyrite Belt with this species can provide economic valorisation by the exploration of this plant-based product for fragrance and pharmaceutical industries.

Acknowledgment: This research was supported by Portuguese funds, through Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the scope of the project UID/AGR/04129/202, and Xunta de Galicia (GRC2014/003).

How to cite: Abreu, M. M., Santos, E., Balseiro-Romero, M., and Macías, F.: Bioextracts of Lavandula pedunculata growing in São Domingos mine: a natural source of added-value compounds, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16276,, 2021.