Detroit Urban Farming Copper Phytoremediation Research

Jones, Bianca, Nathaniel Nunez, Carly Fiorido, Jennifer Nava, Demi Mantzopoulos, Adam Boyden, and Katherine C. Lanigan

Throughout the world, especially in urban environments metal and waste contamination is a prominent issue. One of the numerous metal contaminants commonly found throughout urban areas is copper. Exposure to high levels of copper has a myriad of detrimental health effects. In order to improve the health of urban residents and increase the general quality of life of the populace phytoremediation techniques can potentially remove excess copper waste. Phytoremediation focuses on using plants and their natural ability to uptake metals and other soil contaminants and use them in their metabolic pathways. This uptake removes and reduces the contaminants in the soil and can potentially benefit the plant. Given the large variety of metabolic pathways in plants it is easy to conclude that certain plants would behave as stronger hyper-accumulators for different contaminants than others. In this experiment the hyper accumulation abilities of Allium sativum (garlic) were tested using a copper analyte contaminant. To measure the extent of the accumulated copper the ppm concentration of copper in the soil and plant before and after treatment was analyzed using volumetric analysis and titration. This research proved significant because it showcased the potential hyper accumulation ability of Allium sativum and its future use as a potent phytoremediation agent for copper waste.  This research has been carried out as a part of the BUILD Research Coordination Network CHM 1150 Detroit Urban Farming and Phytoremediation Research course.