Six local bamboo species were found to have the potential to clean up soils severely contaminated by heavy metals, a study by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed.
The study titled “Screening of Selected Bamboo Species Capable to Uptake Heavy Metal Pollutants from the Soil,” and conducted by the ERDB’s Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Research, Development, and Extension Center looked into the potential of six bamboo species to absorb heavy metals in the soil, their growth performance, and survival rate.
The species studied were kawayan tinik (𝘉𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘢), buho (𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘻𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘺𝘶𝘮 𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘰), kawayan kiling (𝘉𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘢 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘴 𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘳𝘢𝘥), anos (𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘻𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘺𝘶𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘢), giant bamboo (𝘋𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘮𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘳), and bayog (𝘉𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘢).
ERDB’s study results revealed that the local bamboo species can absorb and accumulate certain amounts of heavy metal pollutants from the soil.
The species of bamboo that were studied have been found to survive and tolerate heavy metals from a soil contaminated with lead, cadmium, chromium, and mercury, among others.
The analysis of bamboo tissues reflected that kawayan tinik species samples accumulated the highest amount of lead and mercury in its tissues.
Meanwhile, anos species had the highest amount of cadmium, while buho accumulated the highest amount of chromium.
The study also showed that kawayan kiling and buho had the highest survival rate and tolerance to the said heavy metal contaminants in general.
The results of the study showed that bamboo has the potential to address environmental concerns, as it can be a vital “phytoremediation” tool through its absorption of chemicals from contaminated soil and restore the environment.
Recent phytoremediation studies have also found that bamboo has the potential to absorb pollutants in the air, soil, or water.
Considering the number of native bamboo species available in the country, the study pointed out that it could be advantageous to utilize them for rehabilitation of heavily-contaminated soil.
It also recommended the participation of local governments, plant growers, and other industries to support the continued cultivation and growth of these species of bamboo.