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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING FORAGE-BASED COW-CALF OPERATIONS TO IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY OF BEEF CATTLE AGRICULTURE AND WATER QUALITY PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Phytoremediaton Potentials of Selected Tropical Plants for Ethidium Bromide

Authors
item Uera, Raynato - LUZON ST.UNIV.PHILIPPINES
item Paz-Alberto, Annie - LUZON ST.UNIV.PHILIPPINES
item Sigua, Gilbert

Submitted to: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 17, 2007
Publication Date: August 1, 2007
Citation: Uera, R.B., Paz-Alberto, A.M., Sigua, G.C. 2007. Phytoremediaton potentials of selected tropical plants for ethidium bromide. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 14(7): 498-504.

Interpretive Summary: The rapid build-up of toxic pollutants (metals, radionuclide, and organic contaminants in soil, surface water and groundwater) not only affects natural resources but also causes a major strain on ecosystems. Interest in phytoremediation as a method to solve chemical contamination has been growing rapidly in recent years. The technology has been utilized to clean up soil and groundwater from heavy metals and other toxic organic compounds in many countries like the United States and Russia. Phytoremediation requires somewhat limited resources and very useful in treating wide variety of environmental contaminants. This study aimed to assess the potential of selected tropical plants as phytoremediators of EtBr. This study used tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), mustard (Brassica alba), vetivergrass (Vetiveria zizanioedes), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), carabaograss (Paspalum conjugatum), and talahib (Saccharum spontaneum) to remove EtBr from laboratory waste. In this study, mustard, tomato, and vetivergrass have shown their ability to absorb EtBr in contaminated soil keeping them from expanding their reach into the environment and preventing further contamination. Its downside, however, is that living creatures including humans, fish, and birds, must be prevented from eating the plants that utilized these substances. Nonetheless, it is still easier to isolate, cut down, and remove plants growing on the surface of the contaminated matrices, than to use strong acids and permanganates to chemically neutralize a dangerous process that can further contaminate the environment and pose additional risks to humans. Though this alternative method does not totally eliminate environmental contamination, it by far produces insignificant amount of by-products compared with the existing processes and technologies. Since this study has established that some plants can thrive and dwell in EtBr-treated soil, an increased amount of EtBr application should be explored in future studies. It is suggested therefore that a larger, more comprehensive exploration of phytoremediation application in the management of toxic and hazardous wastes emanating from biotechnology research activities should be considered especially on the use of vetivergrass, a very promising tropical perennial grass.

Technical Abstract: Research and development has its own benefits and inconveniences. One of the inconveniences is the generation of enormous quantity of diverse toxic and hazardous wastes and its eventual contamination to soil and groundwater resources. Ethidium bromide (EtBr) is one of the commonly used substances in molecular biology experiments. It is highly mutagenic and moderately toxic substance used in DNA-staining during electrophoresis. Interest in phytoremediation as a method to solve chemical contamination has been growing rapidly in recent years. This study aimed to assess the potential of selected tropical plants as phytoremediators of EtBr. This study used tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), mustard (Brassica alba), vetivergrass (Vetiveria zizanioedes), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), carabaograss (Paspalum conjugatum), and talahib (Saccharum spontaneum) to remove EtBr from laboratory waste. Results showed a highly significant difference in the ability of the tropical plants to absorb EtBr from soils. Mustard registered the highest absorption of 0.0014 mg/kg EtBr followed by tomato and vetivergrass with 0.0010 and 0.0007 mg/kg EtBr, respectively. Cogongrass, talahib, and carabaograss had the least amount absorbed (0.0002 mg/kg EtBr). Ethidium bromide content of soil planted to mustard was reduced by 10.7%. This was followed by tomato with a reduction of 8.1%. Only 5.6% reduction was obtained from soils planted to vetivergrass. Soils planted to cogongrass, talahib, and carabaograss had the least reduction of 1.5% from its initial EtBr content. In this study, mustard, tomato, and vetivergrass have shown their ability to absorb EtBr in contaminated soil keeping them from expanding their reach into the environment and preventing further contamination.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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