Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 3576–3584 | Cite as

Effects of NTA on Pb phytostabilization efficiency of Athyrium wardii (Hook.) grown in a Pb-contaminated soil

  • Juan Zhan
  • Qingpei Zhang
  • Tingxuan LiEmail author
  • Haiying YuEmail author
  • Xizhou Zhang
  • Huagang Huang
Soils, Sec 5 • Soil and Landscape Ecology • Research Article



Chelate-assisted phytoremediation with biodegradable chelates has been considered to be a promising technique to enhance phytoremediation efficiency, while little information is available on phytostabilization. This study aims to assess NTA-assisted phytostabilization of Pb-contaminated soils by Athyrium wardii (Hook.).

Materials and methods

A pot experiment was carried out to investigate the effects of different application days (1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 21) of nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) on plant growth, Pb accumulation, and Pb availability in rhizosphere soils of A. wardii grown in soils contaminated with low (200 mg kg−1) and high (800 mg kg−1) concentrations of Pb.

Results and discussion

With the application of NTA, better growth for A. wardii was observed when treated with NTA for 5–14 days for both low and high Pb soils, suggesting potential harvest time. Pb concentrations and Pb accumulation in underground parts of A. wardii grown in low and high Pb soils increased with increasing application time of NTA generally. Similar changes were also found for bioaccumulation coefficients (BCFs) of A. wardii. The greatest remediation factors (RFs) for underground parts and whole plant of A. wardii were observed for NTA application time of 7 and 5 days for low and high Pb soils, suggesting the greatest remediation efficiency. Furthermore, plant growth, BCF, and RF of A. wardii grown in low Pb-contaminated soils were greater than those grown in high Pb-contaminated soils. Pb availability in rhizosphere soils of A. wardii grown in low Pb soils was lower than those in high Pb-contaminated soils.


It seems to be the optimum for A. wardii to phytostabilize slightly Pb-contaminated soils with the application of NTA for 7 days as taking plant growth, Pb remediation efficiency, and environmental risk into consideration.


Chelant-assisted phytostabilization Fern Heavy metal Nitrilotriacetic acid Pb-contaminated soils 



The authors are also extremely grateful to Gerry Milne for the kind comments and suggestions on English language of this manuscript.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Science and Technology Support Program (2015BAD05B01) and Sichuan Key Research Programs (2017SZ0188, 2017SZ0198 and 2018SZ0326).


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ResourcesSichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina

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