Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 14–23 | Cite as

Varying concentrations of soil chromium (VI) for the exploration of tolerance thresholds and phytoremediation potential of the oregano (Origanum vulgare)

  • Efi LevizouEmail author
  • Anna A. Zanni
  • Vasileios Antoniadis
New Toxic Emerging Contaminants: Beyond the Toxicological effects


Varying concentrations of soil Cr(VI) were used in order to explore the tolerance thresholds and phytoremediation potential of Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare), in a pot experiment conducted outdoors. Oregano exhibited a rather exceptional capacity to bioaccumulate Cr in both the aerial part (up to 1200 mg of total Cr kg−1 DM) and the root—reaching 4300 mg kg−1 DM when grown in soil [Cr(VI)] of 150–200 mg kg−1. Plant responses indicated that there was a threshold set at 100 mg Cr(VI) kg−1 in the soil, above which the following results were recorded: (i) a restriction of Cr translocation from below- to above-ground plant part, (ii) a raise of the soil-to-root Cr transfer, and (iii) the Cr(III) evolution from the reduction of Cr(VI) was significantly decelerated in the root and accelerated in the aerial part. Soil [Cr] that surpassed this threshold challenged plant tolerance, resulting in a dose-dependent reduction of growth and antioxidant phenolics pool. Nonetheless, the significant Cr uptake capacity at plant level accounted for the considerably short remediation time (i.e., 29 years at soil [Cr(VI)] of 150 mg kg−1) calculated according to these results. The overall performance of oregano indicated that phytoremediation would be feasible at sites with Cr contamination levels ranging within the above-defined thresholds.


Oregano Contamination Heavy metals Bioaccumulation Translocation Phenolics 


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural EnvironmentUniversity of ThessalyVolosGreece

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