Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 178, Issue 1–4, pp 373–381 | Cite as

Bioassay as monitoring system for lead phytoremediation through Crinum asiaticum L.

  • Mayank Varun
  • Rohan D’Souza
  • Devendra Kumar
  • Manoj S. Paul


Toxicity of lead in soil is well documented and established. Phytoremediation has gained attention as a cheap, easily applicable, and eco-friendly clean-up technology. Chemical methods are used to assess exact levels and type of pollutants but heavy metal content in soil can also be evaluated indirectly by estimation of phytotoxicity levels using bioassays. Plant bioassays through fast germinating cereals can indicate not only the level of pollution and its effects on growth and survival but also the progress of phytoremediation process. The performance of barley Hordeum vulgare L. seedlings as bioassay for assessment of changes in the levels of lead (Pb) at three concentrations, i.e., 300 (T1), 600 (T2), and 1,200 ppm (T3) in the soil was evaluated while testing the efficiency of Crinum asiaticum L. as a phytoremedial tool. At the first assessment, i.e., 30 DAT (days after treatment) shoot and root lengths of seedlings decreased with increasing concentrations of Pb. As the study progressed, a decrease in levels of Pb was accompanied by better germinability and growth of barley. At 120 DAT seedling growth in all the treatments were comparable to control. In T1, T2, and T3 soils, 74.5%, 83.7%, and 91.2% reduction in lead content was observed at 120 DAT. Highly significant correlations between decreasing pollutant (Pb) content in the soil, seed germination, and seedling growth of barley H. vulgare were found. The differences in root and shoot length as well as overall growth pattern are indicative of the suitability of barley as a bio-monitoring tool.


Heavy metal Bio-monitoring Lead Bioaccumulate Bioassay 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adam, G., & Duncan, H. (2002). Influence of diesel fuel on seed germination. Environmental Pollution, 120(2), 363–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alloway, B. J., & Jackson, A. P. (1991). The behavior of heavy metals in sewage sludge amended soils. Science of the Total Environment, 100, 151–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Araujo, A. S. F., & Monteiro, R. T. R. (2005). Plant bioassays to assess toxicity of textile sludge compost. Scientia agricola. (Piracicaba, Braz.), 62(3), 286–290.Google Scholar
  4. Ashrafi, Z. Y., Sadeghi, S., Alizade, H. M., Mashhadi, H. R., & Mohamadi, E. R. (2009). Study of bioassay the allelopathic effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) n-hexane, acetone and waters soluble extracts on six weeds. International Journal of Biology, 1(1), 71–77.Google Scholar
  5. Blaylock, M. J., & Huang, J. W. (2000). Phytoextraction of metals. In I. Raskin & B. D. Ensley (Eds.), Phytoremediation of toxic metals—Using plants to clean-up the environment (pp. 53–70). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Chaney, R. L., & Ryan, A. J. (1994). Risk based standards for arsenic, lead and cadmium in urban soils (p. 130, ISBN 3-926959-63-0). Frankfurt: DECHEMA.Google Scholar
  7. Chang, A. C., Granto, T. C., & Page, A. L. (1992). A methodology for establishing phytotoxicity criteria for chromium, copper, nickel and zinc in agricultural land application of municipal sewage sludges. Journal of Environmental Quality, 21, 521–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cunningham, S. D., & Ow, D. W. (1996). Promises and prospects of phytoremediation. Plant Physiology, 110, 715–719.Google Scholar
  9. Cunningham, S. D., Shann, J. R., Crowley, D. E., & Anderson, T. A. (1997). Phytoremediation of contaminated water and soil. In E. L. Kruger, T. A. Anderson, & J. R. Coats (Eds.), Phytoremediation of soil and water contaminants (pp. 2–19). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS symposium series no. 664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davies, B. E. (1995). Lead and other heavy metals in urban areas and consequences for the health of their inhabitants. In S. K. Majumdar, E. W. Miller, & F. J. Brenner (Eds.), Environmental contaminants, ecosystems and human health (pp. 287–307). Easton: The Pennsylvania Academy of Science.Google Scholar
  11. Evanko, C. R., & Dzombak, D. A. (1997). Remediation of metals—Contaminated soil & groundwater. Technology evaluation report, p. 46, Oct. 1997. TE-97–01 USEPA (Groundwater Remediation Technology Analysis Center).Google Scholar
  12. Gariglio, N. F., Buyatti, M. A., Pilatti, R. A., Gonzalez Russia, D. E., & Acosta, M. R. (2002). Use of a germination bioassay to test compost maturity of willow (Salix sp.) sawdust. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Sciences, 30, 135–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goldbold, D. J., & Hutterman, A. (1986). The uptake and toxicity of mercury and lead to spruce (Picea abies) seedlings. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 31, 509–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gruenhage, L., & Jager, H. J. (1985). Effect of heavy metals on growth and heavy metal content of Allium porrum and Pisum sativum. Angew Botany, 59, 11–28.Google Scholar
  15. Gundersson, C. A., Kostuk, J. M., Mitcell, H. G., Napolitano, G. E., Wicker, L. F., Richmond, J. E., et al. (1997). Multispecies toxicity assessment of compost produced in bioremediation of an explosives-contaminated sediment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 16, 2529–2537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hawrot, M., & Nowak, A. (2005). Monitoring of bioremediation of soil polluted with diesel fuel applying bioassays. Electronic Journal of Polish Agriculture, 8(2).
  17. Helfrich, P., Chefetz, B., Hadar, Y., Chen, Y., & Schnabl, H. (1998). A novel method for determining phytotoxicity in composts. Compost Science and Utilization, 6, 6–13.Google Scholar
  18. Iqbal, J., & Mushtaq, S. (1987). Effect of lead in germination, early seedling growth, soluble protein and acid phosphatase content in Zea mays. Pakistan Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research, 30, 853–856.Google Scholar
  19. Jackson, M. L. (1973). Soil chemical analysis (p. 205). New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Jaworski, J. F. (1978). Effect of lead in the environment. Qualitative aspect. Publication no. NRCC. 16736 of Environmental Secretariat, BRCC Publication, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, M. S., & Eaton, J. W. (1980). Environmental contamination through residual trace metal dispersal from a derelict lead–zinc mine. Journal of Environmental Quality, 9, 175–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Khan, S., & Khan, N. N. (1983). Influence of lead and cadmium on the growth and nutrient concentration of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) and eggplant (Solanum melongena). Plant & Soil, 74, 387–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kumar, G., Singh, R. P., & Sushila (1992). Nitrate assimilation and biomass production in Sesamum indicum L. seedlings in lead enriched environment. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 215, 124–215.Google Scholar
  24. Lee, S. Z., Chang, L., Yang, H. H., Chen, C. M., & Liu, M. C. (1998). Absorption characteristics of lead onto soils. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 63, 37–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liou, S., Trong, N., Hern-Chechiang, W., Guang Young Yea Quay, W., Jin Shoung, L., Tsong, H., et al. (1974). Blood lead level in the general population of Taiwan Republic of China. International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health, 66(4), 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marecik, R., Grajek, W., & Olejnik, A. (1999). Testy korzeniowe jako metoda selekcji roslin o potencjalnych zdolnosciach fitoremediacyjnych [The radicular tests as method of the plants selection about potential phytoremediation abilities]. VI Ogolnopol Symp. Nauk.-Tech. “Biotechnologia Srodowiskowa” w ramach I Krajowego Kongresu Biotechnologii, Wroclaw (pp. 291–298) (in Polish).Google Scholar
  27. Meagher, R. B., Rugh, C. L., Kandasamy, M. K., Gragson, G., & Wang, N. J. (2000). Engineered phytoremediation of mercury pollution in soil and water using bacterial genes. In W. Terry, & G. Banuelos (Eds.), Phytoremediation of contaminated soil and water (pp. 201–219). Berkeley: Annals of Arbor Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  28. Morzek, E., Jr., & Funicelli, N. A. (1982). Effect of lead and zinc on germination of Spartina alterniflora Loisel seeds at various salinities. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 22, 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mukherji, S., & Maitra, P. (1976). Toxic effects of lead on growth and metabolism of germinating rice (Oryza sativa L.) seeds on mitosis of onion (Allium cepa) root tip cells. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 14, 519–521.Google Scholar
  30. Nakos, G. (1979). Lead pollution. Fate of lead in the soil and its effects on Pinus haplensis. Plant and Soil, 53, 427–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paivoke, A. E. A. (2002). Soil lead alters phytase activity and mineral nutrient balance of Pisum sativum. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 48, 61–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Piper, C. S. (1966). Soil and plant analysis. New York: Interscience.Google Scholar
  33. Raskin, I., Kumar, P. B. A. N., Dushenkov, S., & Salt, D. E. (1994). Bioconcentration of heavy metals by plants. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 5, 285–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rugh, C. L., Bizily, S. P., & Meagher, R. B. (1999). Phytoremediation of environmental mercury pollution. In B. Ensley & I. Raskin (Eds.), Phytoremediation of Toxic metals: Using plants to clean up the environment (pp. 151–169). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Salt, D. E., Smith, R. D., & Raskin, I. (1998). Phytoremediation. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology, 49, 643–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stiborova, M., Ditrichova, M., & Brezinova, A. (1987). Effect of heavy metal ions on growth and bio-chemical characteristics of photosynthesis of barley and maize seedlings. Biologia Plantarum, 29, 453–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sudhakar, C., Syamalabai, L., & Veeranjaveyuler, K. (1992). Lead tolerance of certain legume species grown on lead or tailing. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment, 41(3–4), 253–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Symenoidis, S. L., McNeilly, J., & Bradshaw, A. D. (1985). Differential tolerance of Agrostis capillaries to cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc. New Phytologist, 101, 309–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wozny, A., Raman, P., & Mlodzianowski, F. (1982). The effect of kinetin on cytochemical localization of magnesium dependent ATPase in isolated lupin cotyledons. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, 5, 345.Google Scholar
  40. Yang, Y. Y., Jung, J. Y., Song, W. Y., Suh, H. S., & Lee, Y. (2000). Identification of rice varieties with high tolerance or sensitivity to lead and characterization of the mechanism of tolerance. Plant Physiology, 124, 1019–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mayank Varun
    • 1
  • Rohan D’Souza
    • 1
  • Devendra Kumar
    • 2
  • Manoj S. Paul
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanySt. John’s CollegeAgraIndia
  2. 2.Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO)JodhpurIndia

Personalised recommendations