Title: Heavy metal pollution and accumulation in maize grown in arable soils located near a lead and zinc slag heap in Yunnan, Southwest China

Authors: Guan-Hua Cao; Tao Li; Xing-Bing Li; Fang-Dong Zhan; Mi Shen; Zhi-Wei Zhao

Addresses: State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources in Yunnan, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China; School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yunnan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kunming 650500, China ' State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources in Yunnan, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China ' Wuwei Municipal Center for Disease Control, Wuwei 733000, China ' School of Resources and Environment, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming 650100, China ' State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources in Yunnan, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China ' State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources in Yunnan, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China

Abstract: An investigation on heavy metals (HMs), Pb, Zn and Cd pollution and accumulation in maize grown in arable soils along a lead and zinc slag heap in Yunnan, Southwest China was conducted using multivariate statistical methods. Calculation of the Nemerow pollution index revealed that all sampled soils were heavily polluted. The concentrations of Pb, Zn and Cd in the maize samples presented a decreasing trend from roots to shoots to seeds, except for Zn (roots > seeds > shoots), and the content of HMs in the maize roots was positively correlated with both soil total and extractable HMs. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and dark septate endophytes (DSE) intensively colonised in the maize roots, and their functional roles are discussed in the soils contaminated by HMs. The study results showed that intensive mining and smelting activities contributing to soil metal contamination present a high metal-pollution risk for crops grown.

Keywords: heavy metals; Zea mays; rhizosphere soil; arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus; dark septate endophyte; environmental pollution; soil contamination; maize; arable soils; lead slag heaps; zinc slag heaps; China; crop damage; mining industry; smelting industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2016.079894

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2016 Vol.59 No.2/3/4, pp.97 - 115

Available online: 17 Oct 2016 *

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