Evaluating the Potential of Plants (leaves) in Removal of Toxic Metals from Urban Soils (Case Study of a District in Tehran City)

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Faculty of Natural Resources & Environment, Science & Research branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Planning, Management and Education, School of Environment, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Environmental Engineering, School of Environment, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran


Urban soil pollution has become a major concern in megacities around the world. Due to their non-degradable characteristic, toxic metals are among the most notorious pollutants. In this study determination of total and bioavailable fraction of toxic metals Ni, Cu, Cr, Zn, Co, Cd, Pb and Mn, in surface soils of district 16th in Tehran municipality is considered. Furthermore, metals uptake potential of a variety of endemic plants is also investigated. Forty one surface soil samples and eleven composite leaf samples were collected within the study area in winter 2015. Except for Cd and Pb, other toxic metals showed generally lower concentrations in comparison with shale and mean earth crust values. Intensified traffic load within the district may be considered as the main reason for such augmented concentrations. The order of bioavailable fraction from total metal concentrations detected to be as: Zn(2.78%) > Cd(2.71%) > Co(1.92%) > Mn(1.79%) > Cu(1.59%) > Pb(.89%) > Ni(.7%) > Cr(.4%). Concentration of different metals in leaf samples revealed that berry, eucalyptus, plane and acacia are more capable in comparison with others in translocating toxic metals from soil. Paying more attention to pollution removal capability of urban plants may play a key role in sustainable municipal management of megacities like Tehran.


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