Screening of hyperaccumulator plants tolerant to drought and salinity and its medicinal value evaluation for ecological reconstruction of copper silver tailings in Northwest China

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 1. Breeding Base for State Key Laboratory of Land Degradation and Ecological Restoration in Northwest China, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China 2. Key Laboratory for Recovery and Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem in North-western China of Ministry of Education, Ningxia University, Yinchuan, Ningxia 750021, China

2 Breeding Base for State Key Laboratory of Land Degradation and Ecological Restoration in Northwest China, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China


The heavy metal pollution in soil caused by mining area development is a global problem. In order to screen the ecological restoration plants of copper silver tailings in arid and high saline alkali areas, and evaluate their economic value, nine kinds of plants naturally growing in the northwest copper silver tailings pond were selected, the enrichment and transfer characteristics of eight heavy metals by this plants was analyzed, and potential health risks for humans of plants were focused. The results showed that the heavy metals such as Cd, As, Cu, Hg and Ag are all from the open-air accumulation of tailings slag. Translocation factors of Cu, Ni and Cr by C. tragacanthoides are 2.1205, 53.1548 and 13.7622, bioconcentration factor of Cu, Ni and Cr by C. tragacanthoides are 1.8888, 7.1979, 7.4653, C. tragacanthoides is the hyperaccumulator for Cu, Ni and Cr. Hazard index in roots of S. collina, C. virgata and A. splendens to adults is more than 1, it has a potential non-cancer effects for more than half of adults, and for over 86.23% of children. Ag, Cr and As contribute the best to HI, and the cumulative contribution rate of the three elements can reach 85.59% to 96.39%. It is necessary to improve the treatment of tail slag to reduce environmental pollution, C. tragacanthoides can be considered as heavy metal remediation plants in arid and high saline copper tailing areas, but there is no medicinal value for these plants as ecological reconstruction in tailings area.


Afton, S. E., Catron, B. and Caruso, J. A. (2009). Elucidating the selenium and arsenic metabolic pathways following exposure to the non-hyperaccumulating Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant. Journal of experimental botany, 60(4); 1289-1297.
Al-Saleh, I., Abduljabbar, M. (2017). Heavy metals (lead, cadmium, methylmercury, arsenic) in commonly imported rice grains (Oryza sativa) sold in Saudi Arabia and their potential health risk. Int. J. Hyg Environ. Health 220 (7); 1168–1178.
Anik, B., Susan, J., Jason, C., Allison, J., David, M. and Jacqueline M. (2020). Mechanisms of Artemisia scoparia’s Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Cultured Adipocytes, Macrophages, and Pancreatic β-Cells. OBESITY BIOLOGY AND INTEGRATED PHYSIOLOGY, 28; 1726-1735.
Binkowitz, B.S., Wartenberg, D. (2001). Disparity in quantitative risk assessment: a review of input distributions. Risk Anal.: Int. J. 21 (1); 75–90.
Can, M.F., Ylmaz, A.B., Yanar, A. and Kılıç, E. (2020). Assessment of Accumulation and Potential Health Risk of Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn in Fish from North-Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Pollution, 6(3); 597-610.
Eghbal, N., Nasrabadi, T., Karbassi, A. R. and Taghavi, L. (2019). Evaluating the potential of plants (leaves) in removal of toxic metals from urban soils (case study of a district in Tehran city). Pollution, 5(2); 387-394.
Faisal, B., Majumder, R.K., Uddin, M.J., Abdul, M. (2014). Studies on heavy metals in industrial effluent, river and groundwater of Savar industrial area, Bangladesh by principal component analysis. Int. J. Geomatics Geosci. 5; 182–191.
Gan, Y., Huang, X., Li, S., Liu, N., Li, Y. C., Freidenreich, A. and Dai, J. (2019). Source quantification and potential risk of mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead, and chromium in farmland soils of Yellow River Delta. Journal of cleaner production, 221; 98-107.
Hu, B., Jia, X., Hu, J., Xu, D., Xia, F. and Li, Y. (2017). Assessment of heavy metal pollution and health risks in the soil-plant-human system in the Yangtze River Delta, China. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(9); 1042.
Jiang, Y., Jiang, S., Li, Z., Yan, X., Qin, Z., Huang, R. (2019). Field scale remediation of Cd and Pb contaminated paddy soil using three mulberry (Morus alba L.) cultivars. Ecol. Eng. 129; 38e44.
Jin, Y., Yu, S., Teng, C., Song, T., Dong, L., Liang, J. and Qu, J. (2017). Biosorption characteristic of Alcaligenes sp. BAPb. 1 for
Pollution, 7(1): 87-100, Winter 2021
removal of lead (II) from aqueous solution. 3 Biotech, 7(2); 123.
Kabir, M.M., Fakhruddin, A.N.M., Chowdhury, M.A.Z., Fardous, Z. and Islam, R. (2017). Characterization of tannery effluents of Hazaribagh area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Pollution, 3(3); 395-406.
Kavcar, P., Sofuoglu, A. and Sofuoglu, S.C. (2009). A health risk assessment for exposure to trace metals via drinking water ingestion pathway. Int. J. Hyg Environ. Health 212 (2); 216–227.
Lampis, S., Santi, C., Ciurli, A., Andreolli, M. and Vallini, G. (2015). Promotion of arsenic phytoextraction efficiency in the fern Pteris vittata by the inoculation of As-resistant bacteria: a soil bioremediation perspective. Frontiers in plant science, 6; 80.
Li, Y., Xu, L. and Li, S. (2009). Water quality analysis of the Songhua River Basin using multivariate techniques. J. Water Resour. Prot. 1 (2); 110.
Liang, Y., Yi, X., Dang, Z., Wang, Q., Luo, H. and Tang, J. (2017). Heavy metal contamination and health risk assessment in the vicinity of a tailing pond in Guangdong, China. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(12); 1557.
Liu, W., Liang, L., Zhang, X. and Zhou, Q. (2015). Cultivar variations in cadmium and lead accumulation and distribution among 30 wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Control Ser. 22; 8432e8441.
Liu, W., Zhou, Q., Zhang, Z., Hua, T. and Cai, Z. (2011). Evaluation of cadmium phytoremediation potential in Chinese cabbage cultivars. J. Agric. Food Chem. 59; 8324-8330.
National Research, C. (1983). Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process. National Academies Press, US.
Papadakis, E.N., Vryzas, Z., Kotopoulou, A., Kintzikoglou, K., Makris, K.C. and Papadopoulou-Mourkidou, E. (2015). A pesticide monitoring survey in rivers and lakes of northern Greece and its human and ecotoxicological risk assessment. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 116; 1–9.
Płociniczak, T., Chodór, M., Pacwa-Płociniczak, M. and Piotrowska-Seget, Z. (2019). Metal-tolerant endophytic bacteria associated with Silene vulgaris support the Cd and Zn phytoextraction in non-host plants. Chemosphere, 219; 250-260.
Rafati, M., Khorasani, N., Moattar, F., Shirvany, A., Moraghebi, F. and Hosseinzadeh, S. (2011). Phytoremediation potential of Populus alba and Morus alba for cadmium, chromuim and nickel absorption from polluted soil. International Journal of Environmental Research, 5(4); 961-970.
Salam, M. M. A., Kaipiainen, E., Mohsin, M., Villa, A., Kuittinen, S., Pulkkinen, P. and Pappinen, A. (2016). Effects of contaminated soil on the growth performance of young Salix (Salix schwerinii EL Wolf) and the potential for phytoremediation of heavy metals. Journal of environmental management, 183; 467-477.
Shao, T., Pan, L., Chen, Z., Wang, R., Li, W., Qin, Q. and He, Y. (2018). Content of heavy metal in the dust of leisure squares and its health risk assessment—A case study of Yanta District in Xi’an. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(3); 394.
Singh, S., Parihar, P., Singh, R., Singh, V. P. and Prasad, S. M. (2016). Heavy metal tolerance in plants: role of transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and ionomics. Frontiers in plant science, 6; 1143.
Song, B., Zeng, G., Gong, J., Liang, J., Xu, P., Liu, Z. and Ye, S. (2017). Evaluation methods for assessing effectiveness of in situ remediation of soil and sediment contaminated with organic pollutants and heavy metals. Environment international, 105; 43-55.
Stoltz, E. and Greger, M. (2002). Accumulation properties of As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn by four wetland plant species growing on submerged mine tailings. Environmental and experimental botany, 47(3); 271-280.
Sultana, R., Islam, S. M. N., Zaman, M. W. and Uddin, N. (2020). Phytotoxicity of Lead and Chromium on Germination, Seedling Establishment and Metal Uptake by Kenaf and Mesta. Pollution, 6(2); 439-450.
Sun, Q., Wang, X. R. and Ding, S. M. (2005). Rhizosphere effects in metal absorption by hyper⁃ accumulators and its research advances. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 24(1); 30-36.
Tauqeer, H. M., Ali, S., Rizwan, M., Ali, Q., Saeed, R., Iftikhar, U. and Abbasi, G. H. (2016). Phytoremediation of heavy metals by Alternanthera bettzickiana: growth and physiological response. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 126; 138-146.
Meng, C., et al.
Pollution is licensed under a "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)"
Tayebi, L. and Sobhanardakani, S.(2020). Analysis of Heavy Metal Contents and Non-carcinogenic Health Risk Assessment through Consumption of Tilapia Fish (Oreochromis niloticus). Pollution, 6(1); 59-67.
USDoE, U.S.D.o.E.s. (2011). The Risk Assessment Information System (RAIS). Oak Ridge Operations Office (ORO).
USEPA. (1992). Definitions and General Principles for Exposure Assessment. Guidelines for Exposure Assessment.
USEPA. (1997). EPA/600/P-95/002Fa Exposure Factors Handbook. Washington DC: USEPA.
USEPA. (2011). US Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System.
Van der Ent, A., Mak, R., de Jonge, M. D. and Harris, H. H. (2018). Simultaneous hyperaccumulation of nickel and cobalt in the tree Glochidion cf. sericeum (Phyllanthaceae): elemental distribution and chemical speciation. Scientific reports, 8(1); 1-15.
Varol, M. (2011). Assessment of heavy metal contamination in sediments of the Tigris River (Turkey) using pollution indices and multivariate statistical techniques. J. Hazard Mater. 195; 355–364.
Wan, Y., Huang, Q., Wang, Q., Yu, Y., Su, D., Qiao, Y. and Li, H. (2020). Accumulation and bioavailability of heavy metals in an acid soil and their uptake by paddy rice under continuous application of chicken and swine manure. Journal of hazardous materials, 384; 121293.
Wang Z, Chai L, Yang Z. (2010). Identifying sources and assessing potential risk of heavy metals in soils from direct exposure to children in a mine-impacted city, Changsha, China. Journal of environmental quality. 39(5); 1616-1623.
Wang, X., Ma, L. Q., Rathinasabapathi, B., Cai, Y., Liu, Y. G. and Zeng, G. M. (2011). Mechanisms of efficient arsenite uptake by arsenic hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata. Environmental science & technology, 45(22); 9719-9725.
Wu, J., Long, J., Liu, L., Li, J., Liao, H., Zhang, M. and Wu, Q. (2018). Risk assessment and source identification of toxic metals in the agricultural soil around a Pb/Zn mining and smelting area in Southwest China. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(9); 1838.
Wu, L. H., Liu, Y. J., Zhou, S. B., Guo, F. G., Bi, D., Guo, X. H. and Luo, Y. M. (2013). Sedum plumbizincicola XH Guo et SB Zhou ex LH Wu (Crassulaceae): a new species from Zhejiang Province, China. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 299(3); 487-498.
Xing, J. P., Jiang, R. F., Ueno, D., Ma, J. F., Schat, H., McGrath, S. P. and Zhao, F. J. (2008). Variation in root‐to‐shoot translocation of cadmium and zinc among different accessions of the hyperaccumulators Thlaspi caerulescens and Thlaspi praecox. New Phytologist, 178(2); 315-325.
Zhao, X., Wang, H., Zhang, Z., Jin, H. and Gong, Y. (2020). Effects of ethyl acetate extract of Salsola collina on brain-gut peptides and interstitial cells of gastric Cajal in rats with diabetic gastroparesis. IRANIAN JOURNAL OF BASIC MEDICAL SCIENCES, 23(9); 1218-1224.