Halophytes and Heavy Metals: Interesting Partnerships

  • G. C. Nikalje
  • N. Saini
  • Penna Suprasanna


The expanse of urbanization and industrialization has imposed severe consequences of ecosystem contamination through the accumulation of toxic soluble salts and heavy metals. Since this imposes a serious threat to human health, immediate action for remediation of such soil and water bodies is imperative. In this context, utilization of metal-tolerant plants with potential to hyperaccumulate toxic metal ions offers a feasible and eco-friendly option. Halophytes being salt-loving, and native of saline and marshy areas, are capable of adapting to severe abiotic stresses, which occur in their surrounding natural environment. Halophytes adopt three strategies, which include accumulation of metal ions into the vacuole, exclusion of metal ions from roots, and excretion of metal ions from salt glands. A number of halophytes have been studied for their potential for toxic metal accumulation and/or tolerance to high concentration of metal ions. Interestingly, some halophytes, like Sesuvium portulacastrum, exhibit hyperaccumulation of different metals like cadmium, lead, arsenic, nickel, and cesium, and, when exposed to NaCl, these plant species show higher tolerance to metal stress. The ability of halophytes to tolerate both metal and salt stress has been exploited for phytoextraction and phytostabilization of metal-contaminated soil. In this chapter, halophytes responses to heavy metals, common mechanism of metal and salt tolerance of halophytes, and their utilization for restoration of metal-contaminated soils are discussed.


Halophytes Heavy metals Salt tolerance Metal toxicity Phytoremediation Phytostabilization Metal-contaminated sites 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Nikalje
    • 1
  • N. Saini
    • 2
  • Penna Suprasanna
    • 3
  1. 1.Seva Sadan’s R. K. Talreja College of Arts, Science and CommerceUlhasnagar, ThaneIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyIndira Gandhi Krishi VishwavidyalayaRaipurIndia
  3. 3.Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreTrombay, MumbaiIndia

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