Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 10097–10105 | Cite as

Spatial variation of heavy metals and uptake potential by Typha domingensis in a tropical reservoir in the midlands region, Zimbabwe

  • Trevor DubeEmail author
  • Grace Mhangwa
  • Caston Makaka
  • Bridget Parirenyatwa
  • Tinashe Muteveri
Research Article


Pollution of aquatic ecosystems with heavy metals is now of global concern due to their dangers to human health and persistence in the environment. An investigation on the spatial distribution of heavy metals in water and sediments and the bioaccumulation potential of heavy metals by plant parts (i.e. roots, stems and leaves) of aquatic macrophyte Typha domingensis (Pers.) Steud in a tropical reservoir was carried out. The results showed no difference in spatial distribution of heavy metals (Fe, Cu, Cd, Cr, Pb, Zn, Mn) in water and sediments from the riverine to the dam wall. The concentration of heavy metals Fe, Cu, Cr and Zn in T. domingensis was of the order root > stem > leaves, but for Pb, Cd and Mn, it followed the order root > leaf > stem. The metal transfer between roots and shoots of T. domingensis followed the order Zn > Pb > Fe > Cu > Cd > Cr. The bio-concentration factor (BCF) was low (BCF < 1) for all the selected metals while the transfer factor (TF) varied among metals suggesting that T. domingensis is not an accumulator of the studied metals. The high concentration of heavy metals found in the water (0.7–16.14 mg L−1) and sediments (43.6–569.18 mg kg−1) present a potential risk to both ecological health and human health for the population living in the area. The results of metal concentration in water and sediments from this study are important as a baseline for future monitoring studies. Further studies on bioavailability of metals to other macrophytes and aquatic organisms are recommended.


Pollution Heavy metals Reservoir Bioaccumulation Macrophytes 



We thank Midlands State University for providing resources for sample collection.

We are grateful to Mr. M. Nyangoma for assistance with the collection of samples. We also thank Mr. T. Mativavarira from Zim Metallurgical Assay Laboratory for assistance with the analysis of heavy metals in collected samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Biosciences and BiotechnologyMidlands State UniversityGweruZimbabwe
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture Extension Services, Ministry of LandsAgriculture and Rural ResettlementGweruZimbabwe

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