Phytoexclusion of heavy metals using low heavy metal accumulating cultivars: A green technology.

Affiliation

Wang L(1), Zhang Q(2), Liao X(3), Li X(4), Zheng S(4), Zhao F(5).
Author information:
(1)Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS), Beijing 100101, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Environmental Damage Assessment and Remediation, Beijing 100101, China.
(2)Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS), Beijing 100101, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
(3)Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS), Beijing 100101, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Environmental Damage Assessment and Remediation, Beijing 100101, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(4)Rural Energy & Environment Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100125, China.
(5)Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS), Beijing 100101, China.

Abstract

Heavy metal (HM) pollution of farmland is a serious problem worldwide and consumption of HM-contaminated food products poses significant public health risks. Phytoexclusion using low HM accumulating cultivars (LACs) is a promising and practical technology to mitigate the risk of HM contamination of agricultural products grown in polluted soils, and does not alter cultivation practices, is easy to apply, and is economical. This review provides an overview of the major scientific advances accomplished in the field of LACs worldwide. The LACs concept and identification criteria are presented, and the known LACs among currently cultivated grain crops and vegetables are re-evaluated. The low HM accumulation by LACs is affected by crop ecophysiological features and soil physicochemical characteristics. Taking low Cd accumulating cultivars as an example, it is known that they can efficiently exclude Cd from entering their edible parts in three ways: 1) decrease in root Cd uptake by reducing organic acids secretion in the rhizosphere and transport protein production; 2) restriction of Cd translocation from roots to shoots via enhanced Cd retention in the cell wall and Cd sequestration in vacuoles; and 3) reduction in Cd translocation from shoots to grains by limiting Cd redirection and remobilization mediated through nodes. We propose an LAC application strategy focused on LACs and optimized to work with other agronomic measures according to the classification of HM risk level for LACs, providing a cost-effective and practical solution for safe utilization of large areas of farmland polluted with low to moderate levels of HMs.