Cadmium phytoremediation potential of Brassica crop species: A review

Muhammad Rizwan, Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Zia ur Rehman, Jörg Rinklebe, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Arooj Bashir, Arosha Maqbool, F. M.G. Tack, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

246 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) is a highly toxic metal released into the environment through anthropogenic activities. Phytoremediation is a green technology used for the stabilization or remediation of Cd-contaminated soils. Brassica crop species can produce high biomass under a range of climatic and growing conditions, allowing for considerable uptake and accumulation of Cd, depending on species. These crop species can tolerate Cd stress via different mechanisms, including the stimulation of the antioxidant defense system, chelation, compartmentation of Cd into metabolically inactive parts, and accumulation of total amino-acids and osmoprotectants. A higher Cd-stress level, however, overcomes the defense system and may cause oxidative stress in Brassica species due to overproduction of reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation. Therefore, numerous approaches have been followed to decrease Cd toxicity in Brassica species, including selection of Cd-tolerant cultivars, the use of inorganic and organic amendments, exogenous application of soil organisms, and employment of plant-growth regulators. Furthermore, the coupling of genetic engineering with cropping may also help to alleviate Cd toxicity in Brassica species. However, several field studies demonstrated contrasting results. This review suggests that the combination of Cd-tolerant Brassica cultivars and the application of soil amendments, along with proper agricultural practices, may be the most efficient means of the soil Cd phytoattenuation. Breeding and selection of Cd-tolerant species, as well as species with higher biomass production, might be needed in the future when aiming to use Brassica species for phytoremediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1191
Number of pages17
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1


  • Biochar
  • Cadmium
  • Charcoal
  • Microbes
  • Silicon
  • Soil remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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