CR(VI) phytoremediation by hairy roots of Brassica napus: assessing efficiency, mechanisms involved, and post-removal toxicity

  • Romina Perotti
  • Cintia Elizabeth Paisio
  • Elizabeth Agostini
  • María Inés Fernandez
  • Paola Solange GonzálezEmail author
Research Article


Industrial activities such as leather tanning involve the use of highly toxic inorganic pollutants, like Chromium (Cr). This work evaluated Cr(VI) remediation by hairy roots (HR) of Brassica napus, paying close attention to the mechanisms involved and the toxicity of post-removal solutions. Results showed that these roots were capable of tolerating concentrations of up to 10 mg L−1 Cr(VI), while higher concentrations were toxic for HR development. Removal efficiency was assessed through the use of synthetic solutions containing different initial Cr(VI) concentrations (2, 5, or 10 mg L−1). Regardless of these initial concentrations, the highest removal efficiency values were between 80 and 90% after 24 and 48 h of treatment, using a 2.0 g inoculum. The mechanisms involved were Cr accumulation (60%) and to a lesser extent, adsorption to the root biomass (30%). A fraction of Cr(VI) was intracellularly reduced to Cr(III), which suggests reductases may have played a role. Additionally, post-removal toxicity was evaluated through two bioassays (Lactuca sativa L. and AMPHITOX test) after the removal of 10 mg L−1 Cr(VI). The treated solutions showed moderate phytotoxicity for L. sativa L. and no toxicity for R arenarum. The ability of HR to remove 10 mg L−1 Cr(VI) from real tannery effluents collected from a regional industry (Córdoba province, Argentina) was also determined. The high removal efficiency observed (98%) demonstrates this system can be successful in treating complex wastewaters.


Brassica napus Hairy roots Chromium Phytoremediation Tannery effluent Argentina 



C.E.P, E.A, and P.S.G are members of the research career from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) (Argentina). R.P has a fellowship from FONCyT.

Funding information

We wish to thank PPI (SECyT- UNRC), CONICET, and PICT (FONCyT) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romina Perotti
    • 1
  • Cintia Elizabeth Paisio
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Agostini
    • 1
  • María Inés Fernandez
    • 1
  • Paola Solange González
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Molecular, FCEFQyNUniversidad Nacional de Río CuartoRío CuartoArgentina

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