Influence of electrical fields (AC and DC) on phytoremediation of metal polluted soils with rapeseed (Brassica napus) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)

Ran Bi, Michael Schlaak, Eike Siefert, Richard Lord, Helen Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


The combined use of electrokinetic remediation and phytoremediation to decontaminate soil polluted with heavy metals has been demonstrated in a laboratory-scale experiment. The plants species selected were rapeseed and tobacco. Three kinds of soil were used: un-contaminated soil from forest area (S1). artificially contaminated soil with 15 mg kg(-1) Cd (S2) and multi-contaminated soil with Cd, Zn and Pb from an industrial area (S3). Three treatment conditions were applied to the plants growing in the experimental vessels: control (no electrical field), alternating current electrical field (AC, 1 V cm(-1)) and direct current electrical field (DC, 1 V cm(-1)) with switching polarity every 3 h. The electrical fields were applied for 30 d for rapeseed and 90 d for tobacco, each experiment had three replicates. After a total of 90 d growth for rapeseed and of 180 d for tobacco, the plants were harvested. The pH variation from anode to cathode was eliminated by switching the polarity of the DC field. The plants reacted differently under the applied electrical field. Rapeseed biomass was enhanced under the AC field and no negative effect was found under DC field. However, no enhancement of the tobacco biomass under the AC treatment was found. The DC field had a negative influence on biomass production on tobacco plants. In general, Cd content was higher in both species growing in S2 treated with AC field compared to the control. Metal uptake (Cd, Cu, Zn and Pb) per rapeseed plant shoot was enhanced by the application of AC field in all soils. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • electrical fields
  • phytoremediation
  • metal polluted soils
  • rapeseed
  • tobacco


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