Comparative effectiveness of organic and inorganic amendments on cadmium bioavailability and uptake by Pelargonium hortorum

  • Iram Gul
  • Maria Manzoor
  • Nosheen Hashim
  • Khurram Yaqoob
  • Jean Kallerhoff
  • Muhammad ArshadEmail author
Soils, Sec 3 • Remediation and Management of Contaminated or Degraded Lands • Research Article



The aim of this study was to compare organic and inorganic amendments namely citric acid, ammonium nitrate, compost, and titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) in enhancing the bioavailability of cadmium (Cd) in assisted phytoextraction.

Materials and methods

Uncontaminated soil was spiked with different levels of Cd (25–150 mg kg−1) by using CdSO4 salt. Different levels of five amendments used were as follows: EDTA (0–5 mmol kg−1), citric acid (0–10 mmol kg−1), ammonium nitrate (0–10 mmol kg−1), TiO2 NPs (0–100 mg kg−1), and compost (0–10%). Pelargonium hortorum plants were grown on amended soils for a period of 6 months and different parameter were considered to evaluate bioavailability of Cd upon application of amendments.

Results and discussion

The bioavailability of Cd in soil was increased by 1.2-, 0.8-, 0.4-, and 0.2-fold in EDTA, citric acid, ammonium nitrate, and TiO2 NPs, respectively. However, Cd bioavailability was decreased by 0.5-fold in compost-amended soils. The efficiency of amendments for mobilizing Cd followed the order: EDTA > citric acid > ammonium nitrate > TiO2 NPs > compost. The maximum accumulations of Cd in root (350 mg Cd kg−1) and shoot (943 mg Cd kg−1) were observed upon EDTA application and minimum concentrations in root (125 mg Cd kg−1) and shoot (104 mg Cd kg−1) were observed in compost-amended soils. The maximum (2.7 g) and minimum (1.5 g) plant biomass was observed upon compost and EDTA application, respectively. The maximum Cd uptake per plant (1.44 mg) and metal extraction ratio (4.4%) were observed in citric acid-amended soils due to better biomass produced.


Among all amendments, citric acid can be recommended as an environmentally friendly and effective substitute to EDTA for assisted phytoextraction of Cd to decontaminate polluted soil as Cd uptake per plant and metal extraction ratio were the highest upon application of citric acid.


Ammonium nitrate Bioavailability Citric acid Compost EDTA Metal extraction ratio TiO2 NPs 



The authors would like to thank the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad for providing financial support for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare related to reported work here.

Supplementary material

11368_2018_2202_MOESM1_ESM.docx (268 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 268 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringSchool of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)IslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  3. 3.School of Chemical and Material EngineeringNational University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)IslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.EcolabUniversité de Toulouse, CNRSToulouseFrance

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