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To make phytoremediation a technically viable option for large-scale applications we need plants that are able to guarantee high biomass yield as well as high accumulation of heavy metals in their aerial parts. The aim of this investigation was to study the performance of aquacultured plants of Indian mustard in the presence of different concentrations of cadmium and chromium since seed germination. The effects on germination and growth of seedlings of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L. Czern) cv. WNFP, Varuna and Barton, were investigated in/under hydroponic conditions during a 4-week experiment. Cadmium and chromium were provided since germination as cadmium nitrate Cd(NO3)2 and chromium bichromate K2Cr2O7 (0.5, 1 and 1.5 M). Plant biomass growth measured at the end of the experiments varied with the different metal concentrations in the nutrient solution and the accumulation of the elements in the plant fractions differed significantly among/between cultivars. Ability in the uptake of metals and their mobilization and storage in the aerial plant biomass, expressed by the bioconcentration factor (BCF) and translocation factor (TF), respectively, are the most important traits of plants with phytoextraction potential. Brassica juncea was confirmed as being a highly tolerant species, but poor metal translocation values were registered, therefore the high amount of Cd and Cr concentrated in the root systems did not migrate to the aerial, harvestable, part of the plant.
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