Phytoextraction of heavy metals by potential native plants and their microscopic observation of root growing on stabilised distillery sludge as a prospective tool for in situ phytoremediation of industrial waste.
The safe disposal of post-methanated distillery sludge (PMDS) in the environment is challenging due to high concentrations of heavy metals along with other complex organic pollutants. The study has revealed that PMDS contained high amounts of Fe (2403), Zn (210), Mn (126), Cu (73.62), Cr (21.825), Pb (16.33) and Ni (13.425 mg kg-1) along with melanoidins and other co-pollutants. The phytoextraction pattern in 15 potential native plants growing on sludge showed that the Blumea lacera, Parthenium hysterophorous, Setaria viridis, Chenopodium album, Cannabis sativa, Basella alba, Tricosanthes dioica, Amaranthus spinosus L., Achyranthes sp., Dhatura stramonium, Sacchrum munja and Croton bonplandianum were noted as root accumulator for Fe, Zn and Mn, while S. munja, P. hysterophorous, C. sativa, C. album, T. dioica, D. stramonium, B. lacera, B. alba, Kalanchoe pinnata and Achyranthes sp. were found as shoot accumulator for Fe. In addition, A. spinosus L. was found as shoot accumulator for Zn and Mn. Similarly, all plants found as leaf accumulator for Fe, Zn and Mn except A. spinosus L. and Ricinus communis. Further, the BCF of all tested plants were noted <1, while the TF showed >1. This revealed that metal bioavailability to plant is poor due to strong complexation of heavy metals with organic pollutants. This gives a strong evidence of hyperaccumulation for the tested metals from complex distillery waste. Furthermore, the TEM observations of root of P. hysterophorous, C. sativa, Solanum nigrum and R. communis showed formation of multi-nucleolus, multi-vacuoles and deposition of metal granules in cellular component of roots as a plant adaptation mechanism for phytoextraction of heavy metal-rich polluted site. Hence, these native plants may be used as a tool for in situ phytoremediation and eco-restoration of industrial waste-contaminated site.