Pedosphere 14(4): 475--482, 2004
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2004 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
“Co-culture engineering” for enhanced phytoremediation of metal contaminated soils
NI Cai-Ying1,3, SHI Ji-Yan1, LUO Yong-Ming2, CHEN Ying-Xu1
1 Department of Environmental Engineering, School of Environment and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029 (China). E-mail:;
2 Soil and Environment Bioremediation Hesearch Centre, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008 (China);
3 Institute of Geography and Environment, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330027 (China)
      A co-culture of two plant materials, Astragalus sinicus L., a leguminous plant with concomitant nodules, and Elsholtzia splendens Naki-a Cu accumulator, along with treatments of a chelating agent (EDTA), root excretions (citric acid), and a control with E. splendens only were used to compare the mobility of heavy metals in chelating agents with a co-culture and to determine the potential for co-culture phytoremediation in heavy metal contaminated soils. The root uptake for Cu, Zn, and Pb in all treatments was significantly greater (P < 0.05) than that of the control treatment. However with translocation in the shoots, only Cu, Zn, and Pb in plants grown with the EDTA treatment and Zn in plants co-cropped with the A. sinicus treatment increased significantly (P < 0.05). In addition, when a co-culture in soils with heavy and moderate contamination was compared, for roots in moderately contaminated soils only Zn concentration was significantly less (P < 0.05) than that of heavily contaminated soils, however, Cu, Zn, and Pb concentrations of shoots were all significantly lower (P < 0.05). Overall, this "co-culture engineering" could be as effective as or even more effective than chelating agents, thereby preventing plant metal toxicity and metal leaching in soils as was usually observed in chelate-enhanced phytoremediation.
Key Words:  Astragalus sinicus, chelating agents, co-culture, Elsholtzia splendens, phytoremediation
Citation: Ni, C. Y., Shi, J. Y., Luo, Y. M. and Chen, Y. X. 2004. “Co-culture engineering” for enhanced phytoremediation of metal contaminated soils. Pedosphere. 14(4): 475-482.
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