Effects of coal spoil amendment on heavy metal accumulation and physiological aspects of ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) growing in copper mine tailings.Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Dec 21; 190(1):36.EM
Copper mine tailings pose many threats to the surrounding environment and human health, and thus, their remediation is fundamental. Coal spoil is the waste by-product of coal mining and characterized by low levels of metals, high content of organic matter, and many essential microelements. This study was designed to evaluate the role of coal spoil on heavy uptake and physiological responses of Lolium perenne L. grown in copper mine tailings amended with coal spoil at rates of 0, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, and 20%. The results showed that applying coal spoil to copper mine tailings decreased the diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)-extractable Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn contents in tailings and reduced those metal contents in both roots and shoots of the plant. However, application of coal spoil increased the DTPA-extractable Cr concentration in tailings and also increased Cr uptake and accumulation by Lolium perenne L. The statistical analysis of physiological parameters indicated that chlorophyll and carotenoid increased at the lower amendments of coal spoil followed by a decrease compared to their respective controls. Protein content was enhanced at all the coal spoil amendments. When treated with coal spoil, the activities of superoxide dismutases (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT) responded differently. CAT activity was inhibited, but POD activity was increased with increasing amendment ratio of coal spoil. SOD activity increased up to 1% coal spoil followed by a decrease. Overall, the addition of coal spoil decreased the oxidative stress in Lolium perenne L., reflected by the reduction in malondialdehyde (MDA) contents in the plant. It is concluded that coal spoil has the potential to stabilize most metals studied in copper mine tailings and ameliorate the harmful effects in Lolium perenne L. through changing the physiological attributes of the plant grown in copper mine tailings.