Measurement of Copper Uptake by Ocimum basilicum Plants by FAAS for Phytoremediation

Mantzopoulos, Demitra, and Katherine Lanigan

Over the course of Winter 2016, Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric Analysis (FAAS) was used to measure the physiological uptake of copper by Ocimum basilicum (basil herbs). Basil herbs are being tested for their potential hyperaccumulator characteristics, which can then potentially be used for phytoremediation of contaminated soil. Basil seeds were planted in pots containing soil of various copper sulfate pentahydrate concentrations. The shoots were harvested, ashed in a muffle furnace, and acid digested. The shoots were then analyzed using FAAS to measure the amount of copper uptake in shoots in micrograms per gram of ashed plant material. The soil from each pot was also analyzed using FAAS, as well as a soil sample with no basil plants to determine if there was a reduction in copper concentration when plants were present. During the course of Fall 2015, X-ray fluorescence analysis was also used to determine naturally occurring levels of copper in soils containing various herbs, such as Ocimum basilicum (basil), Thymus vulgaris (thyme), and Petroselinum crispum (parsley). X-ray fluorescence analysis was also used to determine copper levels in spiked soils containing the respective herbs.