African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6849

Full Length Research Paper

Bioaccumulation of Cr, Hg, As, Pb, Cu and Ni with the ability for hyperaccumulation by Amaranthus dubius

John J. Mellem1*, Himansu Baijnath2 and Bharti Odhav1
  1Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, ML Sultan Campus, Durban University of Technology, 41/43 Centenary Rd., Durban, 4001, South Africa. 2School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, P. Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa.      
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 December 2011
  •  Published: 31 January 2012



Amaranthus dubius is a nutritious leafy vegetable that is widely distributed in Africa, Asia and South America. The rapid growth and biomass makes them one of the highest yielding leafy crops, which may be valuable for phytoremediation. Thus, this study investigates the potential of A. dubius for the hyperaccumulation and distribution of chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) in the different plant organs. The phytoremediation was calculated by the  bioconcentration factor and translocation factor of plants grown under controlled conditions in a tunnel house. The metal accumulated was investigated using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICPMS). Following exposure to 25, 75 and 100 ppm of Cr, Hg, As, Pb, Cu and Ni respectively for four days, A. dubius accumulates Cr, Hg and Pb at the low concentration (25 ppm) and translocates it to the shoots, but at higher concentrations (75 and 100 ppm) the metal is only stored in the roots. In the case of As accumulation at all concentrations, the metal is translocated to the shoots; Cu and Ni indicate that the metal is stored in the roots mainly. This study indicates that A. dubius has limited potential for the bioaccumulation of Cr, Hg, Pb, Cu and Ni, but is capable of hyperaccumulating of As.


Key wordsAmaranthus dubius, bioconcentration factor, translocation factor, inductively coupled  plasma mass spectroscopy.