Classification of plants according to their heavy metal content around North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania: implication for phytoremediation
Plants like other living organisms respond differently under different environmental conditions. An elevated level of heavy metals is one of the stresses which results into three classes of plants depending on their heavy metal content. The classes of plant species according to their accumulated heavy metals around North Mara Gold Mine were not known. To study such classes, a line transect of 700m long was established opposite the gold mine wastes. A total of eight sampling points were systematically established each after every 100m in that transect. Fifteen plant species were sampled; at least one species per sampling point. Approximately 5g of the root and shoot portions of the plants were separately collected from each plant. Three soil samples were also collected at each sampling point where vegetations were previously sampled. The soils and vegetations were analyzed for heavy metals (copper, lead, chromium, zinc, cadmium and nickel) by AAS. Of 15 plant species; 10, 6, 6 were hyperaccumulators, excluders and indicators for heavy metals respectively. Detailed studies on the agronomical requirements, optimizations, growth rates and the incidence of pests and diseases are required on the identified heavy metal hyperaccumulator plants for possible future remediation of the study area.