In an area near an arsenic mine in Hunan Province of south China, soils were often found with elevated arsenic levels. A field survey was conducted to determine arsenic accumulation in 8 Cretan brake ferns (Pteris cretica) and 16 Chinese brake ferns (Pteris vittata) growing on these soils. Three factors were evaluated: arsenic concentration in above ground parts (fronds), arsenic bioaccumulation factor (BF; ratio of arsenic in fronds to soil) and arsenic translocation factor (TF; ratio of arsenic in fronds to roots). Arsenic concentrations in the fronds of Chinese brake fern were 3-704 mg kg-1, the BFs were 0.06-7.43 and the TFs were 0.17-3.98, while those in Cretan brake fern were 149-694 mg kg-1, 1.34-6.62 and 1.00-2.61, respectively. Our survey showed that both ferns were capable of arsenic accumulation under field conditions. With most of the arsenic being accumulated in the fronds, these ferns have potential for use in phytoremediation of arsenic contaminated soils.
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