Technological University of the Philippines- Taguig Campus
Km. 14 East Service Road, Western Bicutan, Taguig City 1630
Chemical Engineering Technology Department
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
PHYTOREMEDIATION POTENTIAL OF BLUE PLUMBAGO (Plumbago auriculata Lam.) FOR REDUCTION OF COPPER (Cu) AND LEAD (Pb) FROM A CONTAMINATED SOIL
Submitted to the Environmental Science Area
Civil and Allied Department
Technological University of the Philippines- Taguig
In Partial Fulfillment of the requirements for the
Degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
Manalo, Anghelita C.
Matinong, Julie Ann M.
Salvador, John Royce R.
Based on the explorations, the areas of land, surface and ground waters here in the Philippines has an increasing trend of metal pollution or heavy metal contamination due agricultural, industrial and municipal activities either because of ignorance, unawareness, or carelessness.
Phytoremediation define as a treatment for environmental problems especially heavy metal contamination in the soil. The build-up of toxic pollutants not only disrupts natural resources but also causes a major strain on the ecosystems. These hazardous pollutants comprise of a variation of organic compounds and heavy metals which stern risks to human health. Heavy metals are the primarily concern because they cannot easily destroy at normal condition. Generally, the remediation of contaminated soils involves the removal of heavy metals from contaminated areas. Remediation through the use of plants lessen the environmental problems without the need to extract the contaminated material and dispose it elsewhere.
Phytoremediation is a plant-based method that uses the capability of plants to concentrate elements and compounds from the soil and to take up several molecules in their tissues. Toxic heavy metals are the major contaminant for phytoremediation. Information of the physiological and molecular mechanisms of phytoremediation originated to ascend in topical years composed with biological and engineering approaches expected to augment and progress phytoremediation. In addition, several field trials confirmed the feasibility of using plants for environmental cleanup.
1.1 Background of the Study
This study concerns on the potential use of Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculate Lam.) in reduction of heavy metals, in particular Lead and Copper contaminants in soil and it has been selected based on the characteristics for being a suitable plant for phytoremediation such as fast growing, have deep and wide-spreading root system, easily propagated as well as lawn forming grasses that can produce horizontal stems that might grow above or below the surface of the soil. Simulated soil contaminated by 2 different heavy metals Lead (Pb) and Copper (Cu) is used to determine which heavy metals will accumulate most by the plant. After 30 days of monitoring, the soil and plant were analyzed through Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS) to determine if the plant has the potential for phytoremediation.
1.2 Statement of the problem
One of the major problems that we’ve encountered starting from the industrialization era was the contamination of heavy metals in air, bodies of water and soil; this is the environmental problem that should focus on in giving an effective treatment. Unnecessary heavy metal concentration in the environment pose significant hazard not only to plants, but also to animal and human health because of their cytotoxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic effects. The soil has been the traditional disposal site for most of the heavy metal wastes which needs to be treated. Metal pollution has become one of the most unadorned environmental problems today as a consequence of increasing environmental pollution from the different industry such as mining and smelting of metals, electroplating, gas exhaust as by-products, fuel production, fertilizer, sewage and usage of pesticides.
Heavy metals are known for their harmful effects on mammals and even on plant growth and soil microflora leading to effects in plants efficiency. Heavy metal severe effects especially in non-tolerant plant classes marks a wide range of plant cellular events including gene expression membrane structure and function, mineral nutrition photosynthesis, and respiration. Due to latent toxicity and highly persistence of metal, soil with polluted heavy metals represent one of the most serious environmental problems that needed a realistic solution.
1.3 Significance of the study
The significant of this study is to reduce the toxic heavy metal that is present in soil thru phytoremediation process using Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculate Lam.) which it can harm both in human, plants and animals. The current method in remediating soil is expensive which includes electro kinetical treatment, chemical oxidation or reduction, leaching, solidification, vitrification, excavation, and off-site treatment. The clear-out processes or way of reducing of heavy metal in the soil are mostly posh and environmentally destructive. Unlike organic compounds, metals cannot be soiled, and their cleanup needs their immobilization and toxicity reduction or removal. In current years, scientists and engineers have underway to generate cost operative apparatuses which comprises use of microorganisms or plants for cleaning or reducing of toxic heavy metals in polluted areas. Phytoremediation is an emerging technology, which can be considered for remediation of contaminated sites because of its cost effectiveness, aesthetic advantages and lasting applicability. This expertise can be distinct as the effective use of plants to eliminate, depollute or confine environmental contaminants in a growth matrix (Soil, Water or Sediments) through the natural, biological, chemical or physiological activities and processes of the plants.
1.4 Scope and Delimitation
The study only focuses on determining the potential of the Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata Lam.) in removal of heavy metals in soil through phytoremediation. It is planted in a pot with synthetic contaminated soil. The soil will be contaminated with the two heavy metals Copper (Cu) and Lead (Pb) in low and high concentrations individually and in mixed concentrations. The study runs in 30 days to give enough time for the plant to accumulate the heavy metals in the soil. The soil and plant undergo heavy metal analysis before and after the experiment to determine if the plant has the potential on reducing the concentration of the heavy metals in the soil after 30 days.
1.5.1 General Objective
• Generally, the aim of this study is to assess the potential of Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) in reduction of Copper (Cu) and Lead (Pb) from a synthetic contaminated soil.
1.5.2 Specific Objectives
220.127.116.11 To determine whether the uptake of metals in the soil by the plant species is reduced after 30 days;
18.104.22.168 To assess the potential of the plant species for metal uptake and accumulation when exposed to individual concentrations of Copper (Cu) and Lead (Pb) in soil under normal conditions; and
22.214.171.124 To establish which of the two heavy metals is mostly accumulated by the plant in mixed concentrations of Copper (Cu) and Lead (Pb) in soil.
Review of Related Literature and Studies
2.1 Soil Contamination with Heavy Metals in the Philippines
In the Philippines, heavy metal contamination is credited to unsuitable waste disposal, mine investigation spills, and chemical run-offs (Greenpeace 2007). Based in Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Philippines is the world’s fifth for the most mineral-rich in gold, copper, nickel and chromite and it has an estimated $840 billion of untapped mineral wealth, as of 2012. As of 2004, there were mining rights issued by the government for a total of 632 covering area of nearly half a million hectares. This is foreseeable to surge in the near future seeing the fact that the administration has blocked on a program to revitalize the mining industry.
Figure 1: A Photo showing from Bagacay (Samar) of post-mining
One of the typical instances how open pit mining is actually eradicating the forest landscape and poisons the soil and superficial waters with heavy metals and substances. There are reports of tremendously high levels of heavy metal infection in soil in various abandoned mine as well as the leachate and sediments in the lowland by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) – Environment and Safety Division (2006) and Edralin (2008).
Marcopper mining in Marinduque is one of the cases of mining tragedy. In March 1996, a projected 1.5 million cubic meters of mine tailings were discharged into the Makulapnit and Boac rivers activating flash floods in the downstream area mainly along the western coast of the island. David (2002) noted an illustrious concentration of metal Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn in the offshore sediments, which can be scrupulous as possible source of environmental pollution for marine environment. He further observed the persistent contamination in the surface sediments even numerous years after the spill. Even though there is no studies or details of heavy metal contamination in soil has yet been done, it is expected that the area affected by the flash flood will contain high amounts of heavy metals contamination. In another study, elevated levels of Pb have been found in soils of 5 urbanized areas in central Luzon (Ona et al., 2006). The study found that an elevated concentration of greater than 25 mg kg Pb largely came from the incineration of fossil fuel from vehicles.
2.2 Heavy Metals in the Environment and Their Health Effects
Heavy metal contamination in soil is a major problem for Filipinos mainly in provinces where there are mining and industrial areas that pollutes the soil that is used for agricultural purposes. Heavy metals have a density of 6.0 g/cm3 or more (much higher than the typical particle density of soils which is 2.65 g/cm3) and they naturally happen but concentrations are usually raised as a result of contamination. The most substantial heavy metals with concern to potential risks and presence in contaminated soils are: arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn).
2.2.1 Copper (Cu)
Copper (Cu) is one of the metals widely formed as excess by industrial activities. Copper is one of the most abundant trace metals and is a micronutrient of prodigious importance in agricultural production and known as Cu+ and as Cu2+ (Luo and Christie, 1998). Copper in soil occurs almost solely in the divalent form, which is isomorphous with Zn2+, Mg2+ and Fe2+. Soil Cu may be resultant from the natural weathering of remaining or transported parent material and from a quantity of anthropogenic sources. Theoretically toxic Cu levels in soils are largely associated with sewage sludge adjustments and cupric fungicide treatment as copper salts. Copper smelting and mining, Copper-brass manufacture, electroplating, and extreme use of Cu based agrochemicals form the other causes of Cu to soil and it may reach very high concentration in confined areas. The typical copiousness of copper in the earth’s crust is recorded as 24 to 55 ppm.
Figure 2: A Photo showing of a Copper (Cu) Ore
Deram et al. (1997) found that deposits of Cu, Co and Ni in Arrhenatherum elatius increased significantly because acid-extractable Cu concentration (1.0M hydrochloric acid) increased from 200 to 7500 mg/kg, Co from 40 to 175 mg/kg and Ni from 8 to 1276 mg/kg in the secondary soils after addition of 4 g/kg EDTA. Elsholtzia splendens (Elsholtzia haichowensis) had been documented as a Cu tolerant and growing plant species in mining areas and high Cu level solution. Elsholtzia splendens cultivates opulently over copper mining areas and was first documented for its worth in investigation of copper ores in the 1950s.
2.2.2 Lead (Pb)
Lead is one of the most obstinate heavy metals: it has a half-life in utmost soils of greater than 1000 years. Uncontaminated soil absorptions are generally