Copper and arsenic accumulation of Pityrogramma calomelanos, Nephrolepis biserrata, and Cynodon dactylon in Cu- and Au- mine tailings


  • Menzuela Hidalgo Ancheta Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of the Philippines
  • M O Quimado Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of the Philippines
  • C L Tiburan Jr ERSG Laboratory, Institute of Renewable and Natural Resources, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Philippines
  • A Doronila TrACEES Platform Trace Analysis for Chemical, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, The University of Melbourne
  • E S Fernando Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of the Philippines



cuprophytes, phytoextraction, pseudometallophytes, phytostabilization


Metallophytes are group of plants that can thrive on metal-rich substrate. These plants have potential in various green technologies. However, it is a must to first identify plants that can absorb heavy metals and tolerate the high concentration in their tissues. This study assessed the ability of plants thriving in a Cu-Au mined areas to uptake copper (Cu), and arsenic (As). The Cu and As content of the dried leaves, root tissues and soils were quantified using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), and their bioaccumulation coefficient (BAC) were computed. Three species, Pityrogramma calomelanos, Cynodon dactylon and Nephrolepis biserrata, showed metal accumulation in the plant tissues. The three species have accumulation of Cu in the root and the estimated bioconcentration factor (BCF) is more than 1.0 which indicates the ability of these species to tolerate for said the metal hence is a good candidate for phytostabilization of polluted soils. Noteworthy was the accumulation of As in the shoot of the three species despite of the low soil As (<0.01 µg/g). Nephrolepis biserrata had the highest arsenic bioaccumulation factor of 30.91 followed by Cynodon dactylon (11.01) then Pityrogramma calomelanos (8.78) which make them potential species for clean-up of As through phytoextraction. Moreover, this study added C. dactylon as tolerant of arsenic in mined-out area in the Philippines.


Author Biography

Menzuela Hidalgo Ancheta, Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of the Philippines

College of Agriculture, New Era University – Rizal Branch, Pinugay


Adriano, D.C. 2001. Trace Elements in Terrestrial Environment: Biogeochemistry, Bioavailability and Risks of Metals. Second ed. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Baker, A.J.M., Ernst, W.H.O., van der Ent, A., Malaisse, F. and Ginocchio, R. 2010. .Metallophytes: the unique biological resource, its ecology and conservational status in Europe, central Africa and Latin America. Ecology of Industrial Pollution 18: 7-40.

Blaylock, M.J. and Huang, J.W. 2000. Phytoextraction of metals. In: Raskin I, Ensley BD (eds) Phytoremediation of toxic metals-using plants to clean up the environment. Wiley, New York, 53–70.

Bradshaw, A.D. and Chadwick, M.J. 1980. The restoration of land: the ecology and reclamation of derelict and degraded land. Univ of California Press.

Brooks, R.R., Reeves, R.D., Morrison, R.S. and Malaisse, F. 1980. Hyperaccumulation of Copper and Cobalt - a review. Bulletin de la Société Royale de Botanique de Belgique 113:166-172.

Brower, J.E., Zar, J.H. and Von Ende, C.N. 1998. Field and Laboratory Methods for General Ecology. McGraw-Hill Education, 4th Edition, 288 pages.

Chen, Y., Lin, Q., Luo, Ym., He, Yf., Zhen, Sj., Yu, Yl. and Wong, M.H. 2003. The role of citric acid on the phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soil. Chemosphere 50:807–811.

Chipeng, K., Hermans, C., Colinet, G. and Faucon, M. 2009. Copper tolerance in the cuprophyte Haumaniastrum katangense (S.Moore) P.A. Duvign & Plancke. Plant and Soil 328(1): 235-244.

Cho-Ruk, K., Kurukote, J., Supprung, P. and Vetayasuporn, S. 2006. Perennial plants in the phytoremediation of lead-contaminated soils. Biotechnology 5(1):1–4.

Dahilan, J.K.A. and Dalagan, J.Q. 2017. Bioavailability and accumulation assessment of copper in Pityrogramma calomelanos. Philippine Journal of Science 146 (3):331-338.

De La Torre, J.B.B., Claveria, R.J.R., Perez, R.E.C., Perez, T.R. and Doronila, A.I. 2015. Copper uptake by Pteris melanocaulon Fée from a copper-gold mine in Surigao Del Norte, Philippines. International Journal of Phytoremediation 18(5): 435-441.

Dechamps, C., Elvinger, N., Meerts, P., Lefebvre, C., Escarré, J., Colling, G. and Noret, N. 2011. Life history traits of the Pseudometallophyte Thlaspi caerulescens in natural populations from Northern Europe. Plant Biology 13: 125–135.

Erakhrumen, A. and Agbontalor, A. 2007. Phytoremediation: an environmentally sound technology for pollution prevention, control and remediation in developing countries. Educational Research and Review 2(7): 151–156.

Faucon, M.P., Chipeng, F., Verbruggen, N., Mahy, G., Colinet, G., Shutcha, M., Pourret, O. and Meerts, P. 2012. Copper tolerance and accumulation in two cuprophytes of South Central Africa: Crepidorhopalon perennis and C. Tenuis (Linderniaceae). Environmental and Experimental Botany 84: 11e16.

Francesconi, K., Visoottiviseth, P., Sridokchan, P. and Goessler, W. 2002. Arsenic species in an arsenic hyperaccumulating fern, Pityrogramma calomelanos: a potential phytoremediator of arsenic-contaminated soils. Science of the Total Environment 284:27-35.

Gonzaga, M.I.S., Santos, J.A.G. and Ma, L.Q. 2006. Arsenic chemistry in the rhizosphere of Pteris vittata L. and Nephrolepis exaltata L. Environmental Pollution 143:254–260.

Holyoak, D.T. and Lockhart, N. 2011. A Survey of bryophytes and metallophyte vegetation of metalliferous mine spoil in Ireland. Journal of The Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland 11: 3-16.

Karczewska, A., Mocek, A., Goliński, P. and Mleczek, M. 2015. Phytoremediation of Copper Contaminated Soil. Ansari et al. (eds.), Phytoremediation: Management of Environmental Contaminants 2:143. Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Kertulis-Tartar, G.M., Ma, L.Q., Tu, C. and Chirenje, T. 2006. Phytoremediation of an arsenic-contaminated site using Pteris Vittata L.: a two-year study. International Journal of Phytoremediation 8: 311 – 322.

Kramer, U. 2010. Metal hyperaccumulation in plants. Annual Review of Plant Biology 61:517-534.

Ma, L.Q., Kenneth, M.K. and Tu, C. 2001. A fern that hyperaccumulates arsenic. Nature 409 (6820): 579.

Matschullat, J. 2000. Arsenic in the geosphere—a review. Science of the Total Environment 249:297-312.

Nguyen, H.H., Natividad, H. and Natividad, W.R 1987. Soil Sampling Techniques for Forest Plantation and Agroforestry Development. Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (formerly Forest Research Institute), College, Laguna, Philippines, 4031:24

Niazi, N., Singh, B., Zwieten, L. and Kachenko, A. 2012. Phytoremediation of an arsenic-contaminated site using Pteris vittata L. and Pityrogramma calomelanos var. austroamericana: a long-term study. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 19:3506–3515, doi 10.1007/s11356-012-0910-4.

Pachura, P., Ociepa-Kubicka, A. and Skowron-Grabowska, B. 2015. Assessment of the availability of heavy metals to plants based on the translocation index and the bioaccumulation factor. Desaalination and Water Treatment 57(6): 1469-1477, doi: 10.1080/19443994.2015.1017330.

Pehlivan, E., Ozkan, M., Dinc, S. and Parlayici, S. 2009. Adsorption of Cu2+ and Pb2+ ion on dolomite powder. Journal of Hazardous Materials 167(1-3): 1044–1049.

Raskin, I. and Ensley, B.D. 2000. Phytoremediation of toxic metals: using plants to clean up the environment. Wiley, New York, 15–31.

Rathinasabapathi, B., Ma, L.Q., Srivastava, M. and Teixeira Da Silva, J.A. 2006.Arsenic hyperaccumulating ferns and their application to phytoremediation of arsenic contaminated sites, in: Floriculture, Ornamental and Plant Biotechnology: Advances and Topical Issues (1st Edition). Global Science Books, London, UK, 305–311.

Sekabira, K., Oryem-Origa, H., Mutumba, G., Kakudidi, E. and Basamba, T.A. 2011. Heavy metal phytoremediation by Commelina bengalensis (L) and Cynodon dactylon (L.) growing in urban sediments. International Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry. 3(8):133-142.

Shu, W.S., Ye, Z.H., Lan, C.Y., Zhang, Z.Q. and Wong, M.H. 2002. Lead, zinc and copper accumulation and tolerance in populations of Paspalum distichum and Cynodon dactylon. Environmental Pollution 120(2): 445-453.

Silva Gonzaga, M.I, Santos, J.A.G. and Ma, L.Q. 2006. Arsenic Chemistry in the Rhizosphere of Pteris vittata L. and Nephrolepis exaltata L. Environmental Pollution 143: 2:254-260.

Terry, N. and Banuelos, G. 2000. Phytoremediation of contaminated soil and water. Lewis, Boca Raton, FL, 15–31

Vaughan, G.T. 1993. The environmental chemistry and fate of arsenaical pesticides in cattle tick dip sites and banana land plantations.Melbourne: CSIRO Division of Analytical Chemistry, NSW, 1993.

Verbruggen, N., Hermans, C. and Schat, H. 2009. Molecular mechanisms of metal hyperaccumulation in plants. New Phytologist 181: 759–776.

Wang, J., Zhao, F.J., Meharg, A.A., Raab, A., Feldmann, J. and McGrath, S.P. 2002. Mechanisms of arsenic hyperaccumulation in Pteris vittata. Uptake kinetics, interactions with phosphate, and arsenic speciation. Plant Physiology 130(3): 1552-1561.

Wang, H., Shan, Xq., Wen, B., Zhang, S. and Wang, Zj. 2004. Responses of antioxidative enzymes to accumulation of copper in a copper hyperaccumulator of Commelina communis. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 47:185–192.

Wang, H., Jahandar Lashaki, M., Fayaz, M., Hashisho, Z., Philips, J.H., Anderson, J.E. and Nichols, M. 2012. Adsorption and desorption of mixtures of organic vapors on beaded activated carbon. Environmental Science & Technology 46(15): 8341-8350.

Zhang, W., Cai, Y., Downum, Kr. and Ma, Lq. 2004. Arsenic complexes in the arsenic hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata (Chinese Brake Fern). Journal of Chromatography A 1043(2):249-254.

Zheng, Y., Dai, X., Wang, L., Xu, W., He, Z. and Ma, M. 2008. Arsenate reduces copper phytotoxicity in gametophytes of Pteris vittata. Journal of Plant Physiology 165(18):1906-1916.








How to Cite

Ancheta, M. H., Quimado, M. O., Tiburan Jr, C. L., Doronila, A., & Fernando, E. S. (2020). Copper and arsenic accumulation of Pityrogramma calomelanos, Nephrolepis biserrata, and Cynodon dactylon in Cu- and Au- mine tailings. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 7(3), 2201–2208.



Research Article