A Cd and Zn contaminated soil was mixed and equilibrated with an uncontaminated, but otherwise similar soil to establish a gradient in soil contamination levels. Growth of Thlaspi caerulescens (Ganges ecotype) significantly decreased the metal concentrations in soil solution. Plant uptake of Cd and Zn exceeded the decrease of the soluble metal concentrations by several orders of magnitude. Hence, desorption of metals must have occurred to maintain the soil solution concentrations. A coupled regression model was developed to describe the transfer of metals from soil to solution and plant shoots. This model was applied to estimate the phytoextraction duration required to decrease the soil Cd concentration from 10 to 0.5mgkg(-1). A biomass production of 1 and 5tdmha(-1)yr(-1) yields a duration of 42 and 11yr, respectively. Successful phytoextraction operations based on T. caerulescens require an increased biomass production.
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