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Potential of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) for Phytoremedation of Soils Contaminated with Heavy Metals

Authors: Krasimir I. Ivanov, Violina R. Angelova, Vanja I. Akova, Stefan V. Krustev


A field study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of safflower plant for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. The experiment was performed on an agricultural fields contaminated by the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Field experiments with randomized complete block design with five treatments (control, compost amendments added at 20 and 40 t/daa, and vermicompost amendments added at 20 and 40 t/daa) were carried out. The quality of safflower seeds and oil (heavy metals and fatty acid composition) were determined. Tested organic amendments significantly influenced the chemical composition of safflower seeds and oil. The compost and vermicompost treatments significantly reduced heavy metals concentration in safflower seeds and oils, but the effect differed among them. Addition of vermicompost and compost leads to an increase in the content of palmitic acid and linoleic acid, and a decrease in the stearic and oleic acids compared with the control. A significant increase in the quantity of saturated acids was observed in the variants with 20 t/daa of compost and 20 t/daa of vermicompost (9.1 and 8.9% relative to the control). Safflower is a plant which is tolerant to heavy metals and can be successfully used in the phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils. The processing of seeds to oil and using the obtained oil for nutritional purposes will greatly reduce the cost of phytoremediation.

Keywords: Heavy Metals, Phytoremediation, safflower, organic amendments

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