Aspasia Grammenou, Spyridon A. Petropoulos, Vasileios Antoniadis

Bioavailability of Cd in Plantago weldenii and Sonchus oleraceus Plants: The Effects of a Humic and Fulvic Acids-Based Biostimulant

  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science

Cadmium (Cd) contamination poses a major threat to plants and human health, as well as to ecosystem services. Biostimulants provide a promising eco-friendly solution to enhance the phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated soils. We examined the influence of a humic and fulvic acids-based biostimulant on two plant species, e.g., Plantago weldenii and Sonchus oleraceus (common sowthistle), in a soil spiked with Cd at 45 mg kg−1. The aim of this study was to determine whether a biostimulant can potentially affect Cd mobility in soil and absorption in plant tissues. We found that the biostimulant significantly decreased Cd bioavailability (recorded as DTPA extractability) in the soil where Plantago was grown from 17.57 to 13.12 mg kg−1, probably due to the Cd immobilization effect of the added biostimulant. However, the biostimulant had the opposite effect in the soil where S. oleraceus was grown (Cd-DTPA significantly increased from 10.13 to 13.03 mg kg−1). S. oleraceus was found to have accumulated higher Cd concentrations in its aerial parts, resulting in a soil-to-plant transfer value close to 1 and root-to-shoot translocation value well above 1. These two indices exhibited the potential of S. oleraceus to be used as hyperaccumulator in Cd-contaminated soils, while P. weldenii behaved rather as a Cd excluder. These findings highlight the complex dynamics of added biostimulants and Cd behavior in soil and plants. We recognize the need for further research so that the mechanisms dictating Cd behavior after biostimulant application can be better elucidated.

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