Simultaneous uptake of arsenic and lead using Chinese brake ferns (Pteris vittata) with EDTA and electrodics

  • Butcher, David J. (Department of Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University) ;
  • Lim, Jae-Min (Department of Chemistry, Changwon National University)
  • Received : 2018.11.18
  • Accepted : 2019.01.28
  • Published : 2019.02.25


Chinese brake fern (Pteris vittata) has potential for application in the phytoremediation of arsenic introduced by lead arsenate-based pesticides. In this study, Chinese brake ferns were used to extract arsenic, mainly in field and greenhouse experiments, and to assess the performance of simultaneous phytoaccumulation of arsenic and lead from homogenized soil in the greenhouse, with the application of EDTA and electric potential. The ferns have been shown to be effective in accumulating high concentrations of arsenic, and extracting both arsenic and lead from the contaminated soil, with the addition of a chelating agent, EDTA. The maximum increase in lead accumulation in the ferns was 9.2 fold, with a 10 mmol/kg addition of EDTA. In addition, the application of EDTA in combination with electric potential increased the lead accumulation in ferns by 10.6 fold at 5 mmol/kg of EDTA and 40 V (dc), compared to controls. Therefore, under application of EDTA and electric potential, Chinese brake fern is able to extract arsenic and lead simultaneously from soil contaminated by lead arsenate.


Phytoremediation;Arsenic;Lead;Lead arsenate;Chinese brake fern;EDTA;Electrodics;ICP-OES

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_f0001.png 이미지

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the electrodic phytoremediation.

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_f0002.png 이미지

Fig 2. Concentration of arsenic in ferns harvested from Barber Orchard for two subsequent harvests: (a) first harvest and (b) second harvest. Values represent the mean ± S.D. of eight fern samples (n = 8) in each column on the field of Barber Orchard.

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_f0003.png 이미지

Fig. 3. Concentration of arsenic in greenhouse-grown ferns with Barber Orchard soil: (a) the first batch with Barber Orchard soil in seven columns and (b) the second batch with Barber Orchard soil in seven columns.

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_f0004.png 이미지

Fig. 4. Concentration of arsenic and lead in ferns with EDTA (PS = pot soil and BOS = Barber Orchard soil). The plants were harvested after 9 days of the application of EDTA. Values represent the mean ± S.D. of three replicates.

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_f0005.png 이미지

Fig. 5. Concentration of arsenic and lead in ferns with EDTA and electric potential (dc = direct current and ac = alternating current): (a) arsenic and (b) lead. The plants were harvested at 9 days after the application of EDTA and electric potential. Electric potential was applied for 1 hr a day. Values represent the mean ± S.D. of three replicates.

Table 1. Operating conditions for ICP-OES

BGHHBN_2019_v32n1_1_t0001.png 이미지


Supported by : Changwon National University


  1. I. Raskin and B. D. Ensley, 'Phytoremediation of Toxic Metals: Using Plants to Clean up the Environment', John Wiley, New York, 2000.
  2. N. Terry and G. S. Banuelos, 'Phytoremediation of Contaminated Soil and Water', Lewis Publishers, Baca Raton, 2000.
  3. F. J. Peryea and T. L. Creger, Water Air Soil Pollut., 78, 297 (1994).
  4. USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), 'Integrated risk information system (IRIS): arsenic, inorganic', CASRN 7440-38-2, Cincinnati, OH, 1998.
  5. S. Wolz, R. A. Fenske, N. J. Simcox, G. Palcisko, and J. C. Kissel, Environmental Research, 93, 293 (2003).
  6. L. L. Embrick, K. M. Porter, A. Pendergrass, and D. J. Butcher, Microchem. J., 81, 117 (2005).
  7. A. Pendergrass and D. J. Butcher, Microchem. J., 83, 14 (2006).
  8. L. Q. Ma, K. M. Komar, W. Zhang, Y. Cai, and E. D. Kennelley, Nature, 409, 579 (2001).
  9. M. I. S. Gonzaga, J. A. G. Santos, and L. Q. Ma, Environmental Pollution, 154, 212 (2008).
  10. A. L. Salido, K. L. Hasty, J.-M. Lim, and D. J. Butcher, Int. J. Phytoremediat., 5, 89 (2003).
  11. J.-M. Lim, A. L. Salido, and D. J. Butcher, Microchem. J., 76, 3 (2004).
  12. J.-M. Lim, B. Jin, and D. J. Butcher, Bull. Korean Chem. Soc., 33, 2737 (2012).
  13. S. Tu, L. Q. Ma, A. O. Fayiga, and E. J. Zillioux, Int. J. Phytoremediat., 6, 35 (2004).
  14. P. R. Baldwin and D. J. Butcher, Microchem. J., 85, 297 (2007).
  15. N. Caille, S. Swanwick, F. J. Zhao, and S. P. McGrath, Environmental Pollution, 132, 113 (2004).
  16. J. W. Huang, M. J. Blaylock, Y. Kapulnik, and B. D. Ensley, Environ. Sci. Technol., 32, 2004 (1998).
  17. M. J. Blaylock, D. E. Salt, S. Dushenkov, O. Zakharova, C. Gussman, Y. Kapulnik, B. D. Ensley, and I. Raskin, Environ. Sci. Technol., 31, 860 (1997).
  18. S. D. Ebbs and L. V. Kochian, Environ. Sci. Technol., 32, 802 (1998).