Spectrophotometric Analysis of the Phosphorus Uptake in Allium Sativum for Phytoremediation

Arce, William, Carmella Goree, Tiffany Tieu Ngo, Demitra Mantzopoulos, Adam Boyden, and Katherine C Lanigan

Phytoremediation is used a technique to remove pollutants from surface water and soil. Using capillary action, the plants absorb mostly pollutants that tend to be water soluble and hold onto them in the plant’s leaves, sprout, and roots. This idea applied has the potential to be a very effective means of remediating large areas affected by pollution that would otherwise be farmable/habitable land. What must be taken into account is that pollutant phytoremediation varies from plant to plant and pollutant to pollutant. The study of allium sativum’s (garlic) phosphorus uptake is to see if it would be a capable hyper-accumulator of phosphorus to remove excess phosphorus from soil. To be a hyper accumulator, the garlic plant must be able to withstand a great amount of phosphorus and also be able to absorb a sufficient amount. In order to quantify how much phosphorus is absorbed in the leaves of the garlic plant, spectrophotometry is used to compare phosphorus extracted from the garlic leaves after 10 weeks of growth. The effects of unfertilized soil versus store bought soil on the garlic plants is being studied, along with the addition of excess phosphorus to see how the garlic manages the increase. What is expected is that the plant uptakes more phosphorus when the soil is treated with higher levels of phosphorus. The different varieties of soil used in the study may also lead to the discovery of potential symbiotic relationships that may lie in the soil.