Measurement of Iron Uptake in Garlic Plants for the Purpose of Soil Phytoremediation

Baker, James, Arthur McCray, Nathan Montie, Mary Payne, Demi Mantzopoulos, Adam Boyden, and Katherine C. Lanigan

Though iron is a necessary nutrient in soil, in large quantities it can be harmful to human health. Mining and industrial wastes have caused heavy metals such as iron to deposit in soil. This iron can be taken up by plants in agricultural soil and consumed by humans in excess quantities. The effects of ingesting large quantities of iron include lung inflammation and damage to the circulatory system. The broader goal of this research is to develop a method to remove excess iron from contaminated soil through phytoremediation.  The specific goal of these experiments is to develop a method for measuring iron uptake in garlic plants and to determine if garlic would be suitable for use in phytoremediation.  Plants will be grown in soil in an attempt to accumulate the contaminant and remediate the soil.  ICP-MS and spectrophotometry will be used to analyze the content of iron in contaminated soil with garlic growing in it. These results will be compared to the analysis of soil without garlic.  The plant material will also be analyzed to measure the uptake of iron.  This research is being carried out as a part of the BUILD RCN Course CHM 1150 Detroit Urban Farming and Phytoremediation Research.