The response of plants growing in a landfill in the Philippines towards cadmium and chromium and its implications for future remediation of metal-contaminated soils

  • Nazareno, Patricia Anne G. ;
  • Buot, Inocencio E. Jr.
  • Received : 2014.11.17
  • Accepted : 2015.01.26
  • Published : 2015.05.28


During several visits to the Cebu City landfill in the Philippines, plants were observed growing within the area, including on top of the garbage piles. Studying the response of these plants is important in assessing which can be used in remediating metal contaminated soils. This study aimed to determine whether the plants in the Cebu City landfill excluded or accumulated cadmium (Cd) and chromium (Cr) in the plant tissues. The floristic composition of the landfill was analyzed prior to the sample collection. The samples were acid-digested before the desired elements were measured using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). The Cd and Cr concentrations in the plant root-zone soil were also measured using AAS. The results indicated that the landfill substrate was generally acidic based on the results of the pH measurement. Of the 32 plant species sampled, Cyperus odoratus showed potential for Cd uptake and internal transfer; Cenchrus echinatus, Vernonia cinerea and Terminalia catappa for Cr uptake, and Cynodon dactylon for Cr internal transfer. The plants in the landfill differed in their response towards the heavy metals. To confirm the behavior of C. odoratus towards Cd, and C. echinatus, C. dactylon, V. cinerea, and T. catappa towards Cr, controlled experiments are recommended, as the plant samples analyzed were collected from the field.


Cd/Cr uptake;metal contamination;metal transfer


  1. Assuncao AGL, Schat H, Aarts MGM. 2003. Thlaspi caerulescens, an attractive model species to study heavy metal hyperaccumulation in plants. New Phyt 159: 351-360.
  2. Baker AJM. 1987. Metal Tolerance. New Phyt 106: 93-111.
  3. Baker AJM, Reeves RD, Hajar ASM. 1994. Heavy metal accumulation and tolerance in British populations of the metallophyte Thlaspi caerulescens J. & C. Presl (Brassicaceae). New Phyt 127: 61-68.
  4. Banaticla MCN, Buot IE Jr. 2005. Altitudinal zonation of pteridophytes on Mt. Banahaw de Lucban, Luzon Island, Philippines. Plant Ecol 180: 135-151.
  5. Bert V, Bonnin I, Saumitou-Laprade P, de Laguerie P, Petit D. 2002. Do Arabidopsis halleri from nonmetallicolous populations accumulate zinc and cadmium more effectively than those from metallicolous populations? New Phyt 155: 47-57.
  6. Bradl HB, Kim C, Kramar U, Stuben D. 2005. Interactions of heavy metals. In: Heavy Metals in the Environment (Bradl HB, ed). Elsevier Ltd, London, pp 28-147.
  7. Bradl HB, Xenidis A. 2005. Remediation techniques. In: Heavy Metals in the Environment (Bradl HB, ed). Elsevier Ltd, London, pp 165-249.
  8. Carlosena A, Gallego M, Valcarcel M. 1997. Evaluation of various sample preparation procedures for the determination of chromium, cobalt and nickel in vegetables. J Anal At Spectrom 12: 479-486.
  9. Cecen F, Gursoy G. 2000. Characterization of landfill leachates and studies on heavy metal removal. J Environ Monit 2: 436-442.
  10. Chaudhry TM, Hayes WJ, Khan AG, Khoo CS. 1998. Phytoremediation – focusing on accumulator plants that remediate metal-contaminated soils. Australas J Ecotox 4:37-51.
  11. Dogan Y, Baslar S, Ugulu I. 2014. A study on detecting heavy metal accumulation through biomonitoring: content of trace elements in plants at Mount Kazdagi in Turkey. Appl Ecol Environ Res 12: 627-636.
  12. Elkhatib EA, Thabet AG, Mahdy AM. 2001. Phytoremediation of cadmium contaminated soils: role of organic complexing agents in cadmium phytoextraction. Land Contam Reclam 9: 359-366.
  13. Fischerova Z, Tlustos P, Szakova J, Sichorova K. 2006. A comparison of phytoremediation capability of selected plant species for given trace elements. Environ Poll 144: 93-100.
  14. Flyhammar P, Tamaddon F, Bengtsson L. 1998. Heavy metals in a municipal solid waste deposition cell. Waste Manag Res 16: 403-410.
  15. Freitas H, Prasad MNV, Pratas J. 2004. Plant community tolerant to trace elements growing on the degraded soils of Sao Domingos mine in the south east of Portugal: environmental implications. Environ Int 30: 65-72.
  16. Gonzalez RC, Gonzalez-Chavez MCA. 2006. Metal accumulation in wild plants surrounding mining wastes. Environ Poll 144: 84-92.
  17. Gothberg A, Greger M, Bengtsson BE. 2002. Accumulation of heavy metals in water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) cultivated in the Bangkok region, Thailand. Environ Tox Chem 21: 1934-1939.
  18. Hossner LR, Loeppert RH, Newton RJ. 1998. Literature review: phytoaccumulation of chromium, uranium and plutonium in plant systems. Austin (TX): Amarillo National Resource Center for Plutonium (US). Report No.:ANRCP--1998-3.
  19. Jensen DL, Holm PE, Christensen TH. 2000. Soil and groundwater contamination with heavy metals at two scrap iron and metal recycling facilities. Waste Manag Res 18:52-63.
  20. Jones JB Jr. 2001. Laboratory Guide for Conducting Soil Tests and Plant Analysis. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  21. McLean JE, Bledsoe BE. 1992. Behavior of metals in soils. In: Groundwater Issue. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/540/S-92/018.
  22. Mocko A, Waclawek W. 2004. Three-step extraction procedure for determination of heavy metals availability to vegetables. Anal Bioanal Chem 380: 813-817.
  23. Nouri J, Khorasani N, Lorestani B, Karami M, Hassani AH, Yousefi N. 2009. Accumulation of heavy metals in soil and uptake by plant species with phytoremediation potential. Environ Earth Sci 59: 315-323.
  24. Ostman M, Wahlberg O, Agren S, Martensson A. 2006. Metal and organic matter contents in a combined household and industrial landfill. Waste Manag 26: 29-40.
  25. Prasad MNV. 1995. Cadmium toxicity and tolerance in vascular plants. Environ Exper Bot 35: 525-545.
  26. Prasad MNV, de Oliveira Freitas HM. 2003. Metal hyperaccumulation in plants - biodiversity prospecting for phytoremediation technology. Elect J Biotech 6: 285-321.
  27. Rajakaruna N, Bohm BA. 2002. Serpentine and its vegetation: a preliminary study from Sri Lanka. J Appl Bot 76: 20-28.
  28. Ray JG, George J. 2009. Phytosociology of roadside communities to identify ecological potentials of tolerant species. J Ecol Natl Environ 1: 184-190.
  29. Remon E, Bouchardon JL, Cornier B, Guy B, Leclerc JC, Faure O. 2005. Soil characteristics, heavy metal availability and vegetation recovery at a former metallurgical landfill: implications in risk assessment and site restoration. Environ Poll 137: 316-323.
  30. Riber C, Fredriksen GS, Christensen TH. 2005. Heavy metal content of combustible municipal solid waste in Denmark. Waste Manag Res 23: 126-132.
  31. Robinson BH, Mills TM, Petit D, Fung LE, Green SR, Clothier BE. 2000. Natural and induced cadmium-accumulation in poplar and willow: implications for phytoremediation. Plant Soil 227: 301-306.
  32. Sanghamitra K, Prasada Rao PVV, Naidu GRK. 2012. Uptake of Zn(II) by an invasive weed species Parthenium Hysterophorus L. Appl Ecol Environ Res 10: 267-290.
  33. Sankaran RP, Ebbs SD. 2007. Cadmium accumulation in deer tongue grass (Panicum clandestinum L.) and potential for trophic transfer to microtine rodents. Environ Poll 148: 580-589.
  34. Saxena P, Misra N. 2010. Remediation of heavy metal contaminated tropical land. In: Soil Heavy Metals (Sherameti I, Varma A, eds). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 431-477.
  35. Segura-Munoz SI, da Silva Oliveira A, Nikaido M, Trevilato TMB, Bocio A, Takayanagui AMM, Domingo JL. 2006. Metal levels in sugar cane (Saccharum spp.) samples from an area under the influence of a municipal landfill and a medical waste treatment system in Brazil. Environ Int 32: 52-57.
  36. Shanker AK, Cervantes C, Loza-Tavera H, Avudainayagam S. 2005. Chromium toxicity in plants. Environ Int 31: 739-753.
  37. Sharma RK, Agrawal M, Marshall FM. 2008. Heavy metal (Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb) contamination of vegetables in urban India: a case study in Varanasi. Environ Poll 154: 254-263.
  38. Szarek-Lukaszewska G, Slysz A, Wierzbicka M. 2004. Response of Armeria maritima (Mill.) Willd. to Cd, Zn and Pb. Act Biol Cracov Ser Bot 46: 19-24.
  39. Tuzen M. 2003. Determination of heavy metals in soil, mushroom and plant samples by atomic absorption spectrometry. Microchem J 74: 289-297.
  40. Wang QR, Cui YS, Liu XM, Dong YT, Christie P. 2003. Soil contamination and plant uptake of heavy metals at polluted sites in China. J Environ Sci Health, Part A 38: 823-838.
  41. Weather and climate: Cebu Philippines. Accessed September 2013.
  42. Yoon J, Cao X, Zhou Q, Ma LQ. 2006. Accumulation of Pb, Cu and Zn in native plants growing on a contaminated Florida site. Sci Tot Environ 368: 456-464.
  43. Kim KD, Lee EJ. 2007. Relationship between plant species covers and soil chemical properties in poorly controlled waste landfill sites. J Ecol Environ 30: 39-48.

Cited by

  1. Green and Senesced Leaf Chemistry vol.10, pp.1179-5433, 2018,