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Phytoremediation of Cd and Pb by Four Tropical Timber Species Grown on an Ex-tin Mine in Peninsular Malaysia

Authors: Lai Hoe Ang, Lai Kuen Tang, Wai Mun Ho, Ting Fui Hui, Gary W. Theseira


Contamination of heavy metals in tin tailings has caused an interest in the scientific approach of their remediation. One of the approaches is through phytoremediation, which is using tree species to extract the heavy metals from the contaminated soils. Tin tailings comprise of slime and sand tailings. This paper reports only on the finding of the four timber species namely Acacia mangium, Hopea odorata, Intsia palembanica and Swietenia macrophylla on the removal of cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) from the slime tailings. The methods employed for sampling and soil analysis are established methods. Six trees of each species were randomly selected from a 0.25 ha plot for extraction and determination of their heavy metals. The soil samples were systematically collected according to 5 x 5 m grid from each plot. Results showed that the concentration of heavy metals in soils and trees varied according to species. Higher concentration of heavy metals was found in the stem than the primary roots of all the species. A. Mangium accumulated the highest total amount of Pb per hectare basis.

Keywords: Cd, Pb, Phytoremediation of slimetailings, timber species.

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