Cadmium accumulation is enhanced by ammonium compared to nitrate in two hyperaccumulators, without affecting speciation Academic Article uri icon


  • Nitrogen fertilization could improve the efficiency of Cd phytoextraction in contaminated soil and thus shorten the remediation time. However, limited information is available on the effect of N form on Cd phytoextraction and associated mechanisms in plants. This study examined the effect of N form on Cd accumulation, translocation, and speciation in Carpobrotus rossii and Solanum nigrum Plants were grown in nutrient solution with 5-15 μM Cd in the presence of 1000 µM NH4 (+) or NO3 (-) Plant growth and Cd uptake were measured, and Cd speciation was analyzed using synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Shoot Cd accumulation was 30% greater with NH4 (+) than NO3 (-) supply. Carpobrotus rossii accumulated three times more Cd than S. nigrum. However, Cd speciation in the plants was not influenced by N form, but it did vary with species and tissues. In C. rossii, up to 91% of Cd was bound to S-containing ligands in all tissues except the xylem sap where 87-95% were Cd-OH complexes. Furthermore, the proportion of Cd-S in shoots was substantially lower in S. nigrum (44-69%) than in C. rossii (60-91%). It is concluded that the application of NH4 (+) (instead of NO3 (-)) increased shoot Cd accumulation by increasing uptake and translocation, rather than changing Cd speciation, and is potentially an effective approach for increasing Cd phytoextraction.

publication date

  • 2016