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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 194765, 9 pages
Research Article

Wild Plant Assessment for Heavy Metal Phytoremediation Potential along the Mafic and Ultramafic Terrain in Northern Pakistan

1Department of Earth Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan
2National Center of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120, Pakistan
3Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120, Pakistan
4Department of Chemistry, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan 23200, Pakistan
5Environmental Biology and Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan
6Department of Environmental Sciences, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan 23200, Pakistan

Received 16 April 2013; Accepted 17 July 2013

Academic Editor: George Perry

Copyright © 2013 Said Muhammad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigates the wild plant species for their phytoremediation potential of macro and trace metals (MTM). For this purpose, soil and wild plant species samples were collected along mafic and ultramafic terrain in the Jijal, Dubair, and Alpuri areas of Kohistan region, northern Pakistan. These samples were analyzed for the concentrations of MTM (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Pb, Zn, Cd, Cu, Cr, Ni, and Co) using atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS-PEA-700). Soil showed significant () contamination level, while plants had greater variability in metal uptake from the contaminated sites. Plant species such as Selaginella jacquemontii, Rumex hastatus, and Plectranthus rugosus showed multifold enrichment factor (EF) of Fe, Mn, Cr, Ni, and Co as compared to background area. Results revealed that these wild plant species have the ability to uptake and accumulate higher metals concentration. Therefore, these plant species may be used for phytoremediation of metals contaminated soil. However, higher MTM concentrations in the wild plant species could cause environmental hazards in the study area, as selected metals (Fe, Mn, Cr, Ni, Co, and Pb) have toxicological concerns.