Anatomical Alterations in Centrosema pubescens Benth. and Pueraria phaseoloides (Roxb) Benth. due to Heavy Metals in Crude Oil Polluted Soils

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B. N. Uwalaka
G. G. E. Osuagwu


The effect of crude oil polluted soil on the anatomy of Centrosema pubescens and Pueraria phaseoloides were investigated. The experiment was a factorial (2x4) arrangement in a completely randomized design (CRD).  Factors and levels were the two legumes (C. pubescens, P. phaseoloides) and crude oil concentration (volume/weight) in the soil (0 %, 1 %, 3 % and 4 %). Anatomical changes in roots, stems and leaves were observed in the treated samples (i.e. 1 % - 4 % v/w). Cortical parenchyma cells of stem and root of the studied plants had reduced intercellular air spaces in the treated/contaminated samples while those in non-treated (0 %) had large number of intercellular air spaces. Presence of dark spots was observed in roots at 3 % and 4 % with its accompanying tissue breakdown. Stomatal reduction and epidermal cell wall aberrations were observed in the leaves of the treated samples. The anatomical changes and observed tissue alterations in the plant tissues were discussed as phytoindicators and a possible tool in phytomonitoring. However, caution should be employed in the choice of site and disposal of experimental soil and plant. The soil and plant used for experimental purposes should be properly degraded beyond the uptake of the heavy metals by plant roots. This is done to prevent the reintroduction of the heavy metals-laden parts of plants and soil into the food chain, since not all accumulated heavy metal are phytoextracted or completely degraded by plants

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