A spectroscopic study to assess heavy metals absorption by a combined hemp-spirulina system from contaminated soil

In this 2022 paper published in the journal Environmental Advances, Musio et al. explore the usefulness of Cannabis sativa L. for the remediation of heavy metals from soils. While this concept is certainly not new, the authors also add the blue-green alga Arthrospira platensis (spirulina) into the mix to see if further remediation gains can be made. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) methods for analysis during the research, the authors come to several conclusions. First, they conclude that treatment of cannabis “with spirulina during the cultivation of the hemp induced an enhancement in the uptake of heavy metals.” Second, they find that “NMR analysis allowed to identify the crucial variations of the metabolic composition that were induced by the treatment with spirulina,” making it a useful analytical technique in this regard. By extension, they add, “the results described may encourage the application of spectroscopic methods for the rapid detection of structural changes in the various environmental spheres” and apply such remediation techniques in a monitored fashion.

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