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A feasibility assessment of native ferns for phytoremed[i]ation of arsenic

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Lauren Jaynes (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
Beverly Collins

Abstract: Arsenic contamination is a world-wide concern. In the past, soil contaminated with arsenic was removed using heavy equipment resulting in the destruction of the environment. However, in recent years a new method, phytoremediation, removes arsenic and maintains the integrity of the environment. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to sequester and remove contaminants. In 2008, water samples from Poplar Cove Creek and Cloer Branch in Macon County, NC (located in the Nantahala National Forest) had levels of arsenic ranging from 13.8 to 20.6 ppb. These results are unusually high for Western North Carolina and are higher than the EPA’s drinking water standard of 10 ppb. This study sought to determine if two native fern species (Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern) and Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York Fern)) accumulate arsenic and to determine if these ferns might be suitable for phytoremediation of arsenic. In the greenhouse experiment, ferns were planted in soil spiked with arsenic ranging from 0 (control) to 50 ppm. Initial and final samples were taken of fronds, roots/rhizomes, and soil to determine arsenic concentration levels. Results showed no accumulation of arsenic in the fronds of either fern species; however, arsenic accumulated in the roots of both fern species. T. noveboracensis showed a stronger relationship with arsenic in the soil and ability to take up arsenic than did P. acrostichoides. However, despite these positive results, the amount of arsenic taken up by these native ferns was too little to make their use feasible for phytoremediation of arsenic.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2012
Keywords
Arsenic, Fern, Phytoremediation
Subjects
Phytoremediation
Soil remediation
Arsenic wastes
Bioremediation
Ferns -- Metabolism