Estimation of some Trace Metals in Water, Sediments and Two Species of Aquatic Plants in the Al-Garaf River at Al-Rafa District- Southern Iraq

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biology, Collage of Science, University of Thi-Qar, ThiQar, Iraq

2 Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Misan, Maysan, Iraq



The current study was conducted to determines the concentration of four trace metals (Cd, Pb, Cu and Fe) in water (dissolved and particulate) phase, sediment (exchangeable and residual) and two species of aquatic plants Phragmites australis and Ceratophyllum demersium in Al-Garaf river of Al-Rafa district in south of Iraq. The samples of the study were collected during the autumn and winter in 2018-2019 from three stations within Al-Rafa district. An Atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used to measure the trace metals. The results showed that the concentrations in dissolved phase were (0.20, 0.60, 0.12 and 158.11) µg/l, while their concentrations in particulate phase were (14.34, 46.73, 17.76 and 2200.74) µg/g dry weight respective. For sediment, the mean concentrations of these metals in the exchangeable and residual phase were as follows (5.08, 0.035) (17.29, 2.71) (11.87, 13.23) and (622.18, 2366.02) µg/g dry weight. Higher concentrations of the present study were observed in Ceratophyllum demersum more than their concentration in Phragmites australis. The current study concluded that the concentrations of studied metals in particulate phase were greater than their concentrations in sediment and also higher than their concentrations in the two plants.


1. Alrikaby  N.J., Maktoof  A.A., Hafedh  A.A., 2020. Bioaccumulation of Some Heavy Elements in Different Tissue of Cotugnia Polycantha and Two Parasites (Raillietina Tetragona and Streptopellia Senegalensis) Infected with Birds. EurAsian Journal of Bio Sciences . 8;14(1), 395-9
2. Bhuyan  M.S., Bakar  M.A., Rashed-Un-Nabi  M., Senapathi  V., Chung  S.Y., Islam  M.S., 2019.Monitoring and Assessment of Heavy Metal Contamination in Surface Water and Sediment of the Old Brahmaputra River, Bangladesh. Appl Water Sci.  9(5). 3. Vutukuru S.S., 2005. Acute Effects of Hexavalent Chromium on Survival, Oxygen Consumption, Hematological Parameters and Some Biochemical Profiles of the Indian Major Carp, Labeo Rohita. Int J Environ Res. Public Health. 2(3–4), 456–462.
 4. Awofolu  O.R., Mbolekwa  Z., Mtshemla  V., Fatoki  O.S., 2005. Levels of Trace Metals in Water and Sediment from Tyume River and Its Effects on an Irrigated Farmland. Water S.A. 31(1).
5. Farombi  E.O., Adelowo  O.A., Ajimoko  Y.R., 2007. Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Heavy Metal Levels as Indicators of Environmental Pollution in African Cat Fish (Clarias Gariepinus) from Nigeria Ogun River. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 4(2), 158–165.
6. Yaleu  S.B., Hahiou  A.D., Guel  B., 2020. Assessment of Surface Water Contamination by Heavy Metals Due to Agricultural Practices in the Northern Part of Burkina Faso. International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry. 10, 85–98.
 7. Ustaoğlu  F., Islam  M.S., 2020. Potential Toxic Elements in Sediment of Some Rivers at Giresun, Northeast Turkey: A Preliminary Assessment for Ecotoxicological Status and Health Risk. Ecol Indic. 113 (106237), 106237
8. Szyłak-Szydłowski M., 2012. Effectiveness of Removal of Humic Substances and Heavy Metals from Landfill Leachates During Their Pretreatment Process in the SBR Reactor. Ecol Chem Eng S. 19(3), 405–413. 9. Saleh  H.N., Panahande  M., Yousefi  M., Asghari  F.B., Oliveri Conti  G., Talaee  E., Mohammadi  A.A., 2019. Carcinogenic and Non-Carcinogenic Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Groundwater Wells in Neyshabur Plain, Iran. Biol Trace Elem Res. 190(1), 251–261
10. Soleimani  H., Azhdarpoor  A., Hashemi  H., Radfard  M., Nasri  O., Ghoochani  M., Azizi  H., Ebrahimzadeh  G., Mahvi  A.H., 2020. Probabilistic and Deterministic Approaches to Estimation of Non-Carcinogenic Human Health Risk Due to Heavy Metals in Groundwater Resources of Torbat Heydariyeh, Southeastern of Iran. Int J Environ Anal Chem. 1–15. 11. Ravera  O., Cenci  R., Beone  G.M., Dantas  M., Lodigiani  P., 2003.Trace Element Concentrations in Freshwater Mussels and Macrophytes as Related to Those in Their Environment. Journal of Limnology. 62(1), 61-70
12. Bazrafshan  E., Mostafapour  F.K., Esmaelnejad  M., Ebrahimzadeh  G.R., Mahvi  A.H., 2016.Concentration of Heavy Metals in Surface Water and Sediments of Chah Nimeh Water Reservoir in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran. Desalination Water Treat. 57(20), 9332–9342.
 13. Demirak  A., Yilmaz  F., Tuna  A. L., Ozdemir  N., 2006. Heavy Metals in Water, Sediment and Tissues of Leuciscus Cephalus from a Stream in Southwestern Turkey. Chemosphere. 63(9), 1451–1458.
 14. Agoro  M.A., Adeniji  A.O., Adefisoye  M.A., Okoh O.O., 2020. Heavy Metals in Wastewater and Sewage Sludge from Selected Municipal Treatment Plants in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Water (Basel). 12 (10), 2746.
15. Rai P.K., 2009. Heavy Metal Phytoremediation from Aquatic Ecosystems with Special Reference to Macrophytes. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol. 39(9), 697–753.
16. Haldar S., Ghosh A., 2020. Microbial and Plant-Assisted Heavy Metal Remediation in Aquatic Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Review. 3 Biotech. 10(5), 205-217.
17. Southichak  B., Nakano  K., Nomura  M., Chiba  N., Nishimura O., 2006.Phragmites Australis: A Novel Biosorbent for the Removal of Heavy Metals from Aqueous Solution. Water Res. 40(12), 2295–2302
18. Stoltz  E., Greger  M., 2002. Accumulation Properties of As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn by Four Wetland Plant Species Growing on Submerged Mine Tailings. Environ Exp Bot. 47(3), 271–280
19. Bai  L., Liu  X. L., Hu  J., Li  J., Wang Z.L., Han G., Li  S.L., Liu C.Q., 2018. Heavy Metal Accumulation in Common Aquatic Plants in Rivers and Lakes in the Taihu Basin. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(12), 2857-2868
20. Ovečka  M., Takáč  T., 2014.Managing Heavy Metal Toxicity Stress in Plants: Biological and Biotechnological Tools. Biotechnol Adv. 32(1), 73–86.
21. Nekhoroshkov P., Kravtsova A., Kamnev A., Bun’kova O., Duliu O., Frontasyeva M., Yermakov  I., 2017.Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Aquatic Macrophytes, Soils and Bottom Sediments Collected along Different Water Objects in the Black Sea Coastal Zone by Using Neutron Activation Analysis. Am J Analyt Chem. 8(4), 225–244.
22. Nekhoroshkov  P. , Kravtsova  A. , Kamnev  A. , Bun’kova  O. , Duliu  O. , Frontasyeva  M. and Yermakov, I., 2017. Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Aquatic Macrophytes, Soils and Bottom Sediments Collected along Different Water Objects in the Black Sea Coastal Zone by Using Neutron Activation Analysis. American Journal of Analytical Chemistry. 8, 225-244. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2017.84018
23. Quan W.M., Han  J.D., Shen  A.L., Ping  X.Y., Qian  P.L., Li  C.J.  Shi  L.Y., Chen  Y.Q., 2007. Uptake and Distribution of N, P and Heavy Metals in Three Dominant Salt Marsh Macrophytes from Yangtze River Estuary, China. Mar Environ Res. 64(1), 21–37.
 24. Osmolovskaya  N., Kurilenko  V., 2005. Macrophytes in Phytoremediation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Water and Sediments in Urban Inland Ponds. In Geophysical Research Abstracts. 7, 10510. 25. Lenssen  J.P.M., Menting  F.B.J., van der Putten  W.H., Blom C.W.P.M., 1999. Effects of Sediment Type and Water Level on Biomass Production of Wetland Plant Species. Aquat Bot. 64(2), 151–165.
26. Du  Y., Wu  Q. , Kong  D., Shi  Y., Huang  X., Luo  D., Chen  Z., Xiao  T., Leung  J.Y., 2020. Accumulation and translocation of heavy metals in water hyacinth: Maximising the use of green resources to remediate sites impacted by e-waste recycling activities. Ecological Indicators. 1;115,106384.
27. Moopam  R., 1999. Manual of Oceanographic Observations and Pollutant Analysis Methods. ROPME. Kuwait. 1(20), 122-133.
28. American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Pollution Control Federation, Water Environment Federation. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association. 1912.‏
 29. Ikem  A., Egiebor N.O., Nyavor  K., 2003. Trace Elements in Water, Fish and Sediment from Tuskegee Lake, Southeastern USA. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution.  149(1), 51-75.
30. Rai  P.K., 2008. Heavy Metal Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems and Its Phytoremediation Using Wetland Plants: An Ecosustainable Approach. Int J Phytoremediation. 10(2), 131–158.
31. Islam M.S., Ahmed  M.K., Raknuzzaman  M., Habibullah -Al- Mamun  M., Islam  M.K., 2015. Heavy Metal Pollution in Surface Water and Sediment: A Preliminary Assessment of an Urban River in a Developing Country. Ecol Indic. 48, 282–291.
32. Kaiser  E., Arscott D.B., Tockner  K., Sulzberger  B., 2004. Sources and Distribution of Organic Carbon and Nitrogen in the Tagliamento River, Italy. Aquat Sci. 66(1), 103–116.
33. Dhir  B., Kumar  R., 2010.Adsorption of Heavy Metals by Salvinia Biomass and Agricultural Residues. Int J Environ Res. 4(3), 427–432.
34. Abid Maktoof  A., AL-Enazi  M.S., 2020. Use of Two Plants to Remove Pollutants in Wastewater in Constructed Wetlands in Southern Iraq. Egypt J Aquat Res. 46(3), 227–233.
35. Al-Khafaji  B.Y., Al-Awady  A.A., 2014. Concentration and Accumulation of Some Trace Elements in Water, Sediment and Two Species of Aquatic Plants Collected from the Main Outfall Drain, near the Center of Al-Nassiriyia City/Iraq. Journal of Biotechnology Research Center. 8(2), 19-27.
36. Al-Saadi  H. A., Al-Tamimi  A. N., Al-Ghafily, A. A.,1998.On the Limnological Features of Razzazah Lake, Iraq. Bas. J. Sci , 13 (1).
37. Zahraw  Z., Maktoof  A.A., Al-Obaidy  A.H.M.J., Kareem  L.M.A., Shakir  E., Hassan  S.M., 2019. Estimation of Heavy Metal Concentration for Sediments of Shatt Al-Basrah Canal by Using Ecological Indices. Indian J Public Health Res. Dev. 10(1), 970.
38. Al-Janabi  Z.Z., Zaki A., Js A.O.  Ah  A., Es  M.A.A., 2019. Geochemical Evaluation of Heavy Metals (Cd, Cr, Fe, and Mn) in Sediment of Shatt Al-Basrah, Iraq. Engineering and Technology Journal . 37(2), 237-241.
39. Mane  P.C., Kadam  D.D., Chaudhari  R.D., 2013. Accumulation of Heavy Metal Ions in Water, Sediment and Aquatic Weeds: A Case Study of Sudha Dam, Bhokar, India. Advances in Applied Science Research. 4(50),394-400.
40. Chester  R., Voutsinou  F.G.,1981. The Initial Assessment of Trace Metal Pollution in Coastal Sediments. Mar Pollut Bull. 12(3), 84–91.
41. Cheng  S., 2003. Heavy Metals in Plants and Phytoremediation: A State-of-the-Art Report with Special Reference to Literature Published in Chinese Journals. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 10 (5), 335–340.
42. Polechońska  L., Klink  A., 2021.Validation of Hydrocharis Morsus-Ranae as a Possible Bioindicator of Trace Element Pollution in Freshwaters Using Ceratophyllum Demersum as a Reference Species. Environ Pollut.  269(116145), 116145.
43. Fritioff  Å., Greger  M., 2003. Aquatic and Terrestrial Plant Species with Potential to Remove Heavy Metals from Stormwater. International Journal of Phytoremediation. 1;5(3), 211-24.
44. Kabutey  F.T., Antwi  P., Ding J., Zhao  Q.L., Quashie  F.K., 2019. Enhanced Bioremediation of Heavy Metals and Bioelectricity Generation in a Macrophyte-Integrated Cathode Sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (MSMFC). Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 26(26), 26829–26843.
45. Ebrahimpour  M., Mushrifah  I., 2008. Heavy Metal Concentrations (Cd, Cu and Pb) in Five Aquatic Plant Species in Tasik Chini, Malaysia. Environ Geol. 54(4), 689–69
46. Jackson  L.J., Kalff  J.,1993. Patterns in Metal Content of Submerged Aquatic Macrophytes: The Role of Plant Growth Form. Freshw Biol. 29(3), 351–359. 47. Chibuike  G.U., Obiora  S.C.,  2014. Heavy Metal Polluted Soils: Effect on Plants and Bioremediation Methods. Appl. Environ Soil Sci. 1–12.
48. Keskinkan  O.L., Goksu  M.Z., Yuceer  A.H., Basibuyuk  M.E., 2007. Comparison of the Adsorption Capabilities of Myriophyllum Spicatum and Ceratophyllum Demersum for Zinc, Copper and Lead. Engineering in Life Sciences. 7(2),192-6.
49. Dummee V., Kruatrachue M., Trinachartvanit W., Tanhan P., Pokethitiyook P., 2012. Damrongphol, P. Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Water, Sediments, Aquatic Plant and Histopathological Effects on the Golden Apple Snail in Beung Boraphet Reservoir, Thailand. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf.  86, 204–212
50. Adelodun  A. A., Afolabi  N.O., Chaúque  E.F.C., Akinwumiju  A.S., 2020. The Potentials of Eichhornia Crassipes for Pb, Cu, and Fe Removal from Polluted Waters. SN Appl Sci.  2(10).
51. Khalid  K.M., Ganjo  D.G. A., 2021.Removal of Pb and Zn in Municipal Wastewater by a Consortium of Four Aquatic Plants in Vertical Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland (VSF-CW). Int J Environ Stud. 78(2), 341–357
52. Bonanno  G., 2011.Trace Element Accumulation and Distribution in the Organs of Phragmites Australis (Common Reed) and Biomonitoring Applications. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf.  74(4), 1057–1064.
53. Galal  T.M., Shehata  H.S., 2015. Bioaccumulation and Translocation of Heavy Metals by Plantago Major L. Grown in Contaminated Soils under the Effect of Traffic Pollution. Ecol Indic. 48, 244–251.