Assessment of sunflower germplasm for phytoremediation of lead-polluted soil and production of seed oil and seed meal for human and animal consumption

Xiaoe Yang , Afsheen Zehra , Zulfiqar Ali Sahito , Wenbin Tong , Lin Tang , Yasir Hamid , Muhammad Bilal Khan , Zarina Ali , Beena Naqvi


Received December 05, 2018,Revised , Accepted May 30, 2019, Available online June 11, 2019

Volume 32,2020,Pages 24-38

Phytoremediation is a valuable technology for mitigating soil contamination in agricultural lands, but phytoremediation without economic revenue is unfeasible for land owners and farmers. The use of crops with high biomass and bioenergy for phytoremediation is a unique strategy to derive supplementary benefits along with remediation activities. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is a high-biomass crop that can be used for the phytoremediation of polluted lands with additional advantages (biomass and oil). In this study, 40 germplasms of sunflower were screened in field conditions for phytoremediation with the possibility for oil and meal production. The study was carried out to the physiological maturity stage. All studied germplasms mopped up substantial concentrations of Pb, with maximum amounts in shoot > root > seed respectively. The phytoextraction efficiency of the germplasm was assessed in terms of the Transfer factor (TF), Metal removal efficiency (MRE) and Metal extraction ratio (MER). Among all assessed criteria, GP.8585 was found to be most appropriate for restoring moderately Pb-contaminated soil accompanied with providing high biomass and high yield production. The Pb content in the oil of GP.8585 was below the Food safety standard of China, with 59.5% oleic acid and 32.1% linoleic acid. Moreover, amino acid analysis in meal illustrated significant differences among essential and non-essential amino acids. Glutamic acid was found in the highest percentage (22.4%), whereas cysteine in the lowest percentage (1.3%). Therefore, its efficient phytoextraction ability and good quality edible oil and meal production makes GP.8585 the most convenient sunflower germplasm for phytoremediation of moderately Pb-contaminated soil, with fringe benefits to farmers and landowners.

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