Heavy Metals Bioindication Potential of the Common Weeds Senecio vulgaris L., Polygonum aviculare L. and Poa annua L.

Research paper by Mirko M Salinitro, Annalisa A Tassoni, Sonia S Casolari, Francesco F de Laurentiis, Alessandro A Zappi, Dora D Melucci

Indexed on: 17 Jul '20Published on: 04 Aug '19Published in: Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)


In recent years, heavy metals (HMs) levels in soil and vegetation have increased considerably due to traffic pollution. These pollutants can be taken up from the soil through the root system. The ability of plants to accumulate HMs into their tissues can therefore be used to monitor soil pollution. The aim of this study was to test the ruderal species L., L., and L., as possible candidates for biomonitoring Cu, Zn, Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb in multiple environments. The soils analyzed in this work came from three different environments (urban, woodland, and ultramafic), and therefore deeply differed for their metal content, texture, pH, and organic matter (OM) content. All urban soils were characterized by high OM content and presence of anthropogenic metals like Pb, Zn, Cd, and Cu. Woodland soils were sandy and characterized by low metal content and low OM content, and ultramafic soils had high Ni and Cr content. This soil variability affected the bioindication properties of the three studied species, leading to the exclusion of most metals (Zn, Cu, Cr, Cd, and Pb) and one species () due to the lack of linear relations between metal in soil and metal in plants. and , conversely, appeared to be good indicators of Ni in all the soils tested. A high linear correlation between total Ni in soil and Ni concentration in shoots ( = 0.78) was found and similar results were achieved for ( = 0.88)