Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Influences of wetland plants on weathered acidic mine tailings
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
2006 (English)In: Environmental Pollution, ISSN 0269-7491, E-ISSN 1873-6424, Vol. 144, no 2, 689-694 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Establishment of Carex rostrata, Eriophorum angustifolium and Phragmites australis on weathered, acidic mine tailings (pH 3) and their effect on pH in tailings were investigated in a field experiment. The amendments, sewage sludge and an ashes–sewage sludge mixture, were used as plant nutrition and their influence on the metal and As concentrations of plant shoots was analysed. An additional experiment was performed in greenhouse with E. angustifolium and sewage sludge as amendments in both weathered and unweathered tailings. After one year, plants grew better in amendments containing ashes in the field, also in those plants the metal and As shoot concentrations were generally lower than in other treatments. After two years, the only surviving plants were found in sewage sludge mixed with ashes. No effect on pH by plants was found in weathered acidic mine tailings in either field- or greenhouse experiment. Wetland plant establishment on acidic mine tailings may contribute to a reduced metal release and a stabilisation of pH.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2006. Vol. 144, no 2, 689-694 p.
Keyword [en]
Carex rostrata; Eriophorum angustifolium; Phragmites australis; Weathered mine tailings
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23448DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2005.12.038OAI: diva2:192143
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-299Available from: 2004-11-18 Created: 2004-11-18 Last updated: 2010-11-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Phytostabilisation: use of wetland plants to treat mine tailings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phytostabilisation: use of wetland plants to treat mine tailings
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mine tailings can be rich in sulphide minerals and may form acid mine drainage (AMD) through reaction with atmospheric oxygen and water. AMD contains elevated levels of metals and arsenic (As) that could be harmful to animals and plants. An oxygen-consuming layer of organic material and plants on top of water-covered tailings would probably reduce oxygen penetration into the tailings and thus reduce the formation of AMD. However, wetland plants have the ability to release oxygen through the roots and could thereby increase the solubility of metals and As. These elements are released into the drainage water, taken up and accumulated in the plant roots, or translocated to the shoots.

The aim was to examine the effects of plant establishment on water-covered mine tailings by answering following questions: A) Is plant establishment on water-covered mine tailings possible? B) What are the metal and As uptake and translocation properties of these plants? C) How do plants affect metal and As release from mine tailings, and which are the mechanisms involved?

Carex rostrata Stokes, Eriophorum angustifolium Honck., E. scheuchzeri Hoppe, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Steud., Salix phylicifolia L. and S. borealis Fr. were used as test plants. Influences of plants on the release of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn and in some cases Fe in the drainage water, and plant element uptake were studied in greenhouse experiments and in the field.

The results obtained demonstrate that plant establishment are possible on water-covered unweathered mine tailings, and a suitable amendment was found to be sewage sludge. On acidic, weathered tailings, a pH increasing substance such as ashes should be added to improve plant establishment. The metal and As concentrations of the plant tissue were found to be generally higher in roots than in shoots. The uptake was dependent on the metal and As concentrations of the tailings and the release of organic acids from plant roots may have influenced the uptake. The metal release from tailings into the drainage water caused by E. angustifolium was found to depend greatly on the age and chemical properties of the tailings. However, no effects of E. angustifolium on As release was found. Water from old sulphide-, metal- and As-rich tailings with low buffering capacity were positively affected by E. angustifolium by causing higher pH and lower metal concentrations. In tailings with relatively low sulphide, metal and As contents combined with a low buffering capacity, plants had the opposite impact, i.e. a reduction in pH and elevated metal levels of the drainage water. The total release of metal and As from the tailings, i.e. drainage water together with the contents in shoots and roots, was found to be similar for C. rostrata, E. angustifolium and P. australis, except for Fe and As, where the release was highest for P. australis. The differences in metal and As release from mine tailings were mainly found to be due to the release of O2 from the roots, which changes the redox potential. Release of organic acids from the roots slightly decreased the pH, although did not have any particular influence on the release of metal and As.

In conclusion, as shown here, phytostabilisation may be a successful technique for remediation of mine tailings with high element and sulphide levels, and low buffering capacity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Botaniska institutionen, 2004. 45 p.
Phytostabilisation, wetland plants, mine tailings
National Category
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-299 (URN)91-7265-972-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-12-10, föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-11-18 Created: 2004-11-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Greger, Maria
By organisation
Department of Botany
In the same journal
Environmental Pollution
Biological Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 20 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link