The aim of this study was to estimate the phytoremediation potential of Brassicaceae plant species growing on mineralized and contaminated soils. The concentrations of six potentially toxic metals (Cd, Cu, Co, Ni, Pb and Zn) in the soils and plants collected from four mining areas of the Karachay-Cherkesia and the Dagestan (the North Caucasus, Russia) were determined. Mine soils showed high acid-soluble and extractable concentrations of: Cu, Zn, at Urup copper ore mining area; Ni, in the Beden serpentine quarry; and Zn and Pb around Kurush-Mazin polymetallic ores. Results demonstrated that metal concentrations in soils were in general above the Russian maximum permissible values. In all studied areas, Brassicaceae were pioneer species, and revealed a high tolerance to soils with high concentrations of potentially toxic metals. Different degrees of accumulating capacity were found in the studied Brassicacaeae species: hyperaccumulation of Ni in Alyssum murale, and significant accumulation of several metals in Arabis sagittata. These species can be used in a cost-effective process of phytoextraction. They are promising species for rehabilitation of degraded and/or contaminated soils of the North Caucasus.

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