Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 3512–3520 | Cite as

Remediation efficacy of Sedum plumbizincicola as affected by intercropping of landscape plants and oxalic acid in urban cadmium contaminated soil

  • Shuzhen Hou
  • Xin WangEmail author
  • Mohammad Shafi
  • Petri Penttinen
  • Weijie Xu
  • Jiawei Ma
  • Bin Zhong
  • Jia Guo
  • Meizhen Xu
  • Zhengqian Ye
  • Dan LiuEmail author
  • Hailong Wang
Soils, Sec 3 • Remediation and Management of Contaminated or Degraded Lands • Research Article



Intercropping is a promising technique for remediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals. Organic acids can increase the availability of heavy metals in soil. Our aim was to assess the effect of oxalic acid as an activator for hyperaccumulator–landscape plant intercropping to efficiently restore contaminated soil with low cost.

Materials and methods

The hyperaccumulator plant (Sedum plumbizincicola) was intercropped with selected landscape plants: Oxalis corniculate (ground cover plant), Calendula officinalis (grass flower plant), and Buxus sinica (shrub). The effects of 11 mmol kg−1 oxalic acid treatment on growth and Cd accumulation capacity of Sedum plumbizincicola–landscape plants intercropping systems were evaluated in a 76-day pot experiment.

Results and discussion

Oxalic acid has increased the availability of Cd in soil. The biomass of Sedum, Oxalis, and Buxus plants was higher in treatment of oxalic acid than without oxalic acid. The biomass, chlorophyll, and catalase contents of Calendula were lower in treatment of oxalic acid than without oxalic acid, which indicated severe stress caused by enhanced availability of Cd. The malondialdehyde contents of Calendula and Buxus were higher in treatment of oxalic acid, which indicates that higher Cd availability has resulted damage of membrane. The free proline contents of Calendula and Buxus were higher in treatment of oxalic acid. The Cd content of Sedum plants was higher in treatment of oxalic acid than lower Cd in landscape plants with no application of oxalic acid.


It is concluded that oxalic acid has a positive effect on remediation efficiency of Sedum plumbizincicola-Oxalis and Sedum plumbizincicola-Buxus intercropping systems. Oxalic acid has enhanced remediation efficiency of hyperaccumulator-landscape plants intercropping which has offered a new, useful and practical technique for remediation of urban soils with low-level Cd contamination.


Heavy metal Intercropping Landscape plants Oxalic acid Sedum plumbizincicola 


Funding information

The study was financially supported through a grant from the Natural Science Foundation of China (31670617, 21876027, and 21577131), New Shoot Talented Plan of Zhejiang Province (2017R412039), and key research and development project of Science Technology Department of Zhejiang Province (2015C03020-2).


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuzhen Hou
    • 1
  • Xin Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammad Shafi
    • 2
  • Petri Penttinen
    • 1
  • Weijie Xu
    • 1
  • Jiawei Ma
    • 1
  • Bin Zhong
    • 1
  • Jia Guo
    • 3
  • Meizhen Xu
    • 2
  • Zhengqian Ye
    • 1
  • Dan Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hailong Wang
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, Key Laboratory of Soil Contamination Bioremediation of Zhejiang Province, School of Landscape ArchitectureZhejiang A & F UniversityZhejiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyThe University of AgriculturePeshawarPakistan
  3. 3.Zhejiang Chengbang Landscape Co., LtdZhejiangPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Biochar Engineering Technology Research Center of Guangdong Province, School of Environment and Chemical EngineeringFoshan UniversityFoshanPeople’s Republic of China

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