Bioaccumulation of potentially toxic elements by submerged plants and biofilms: A critical review

Nan Geng, Yichao Wu, Ming Zhang, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jörg Rinklebe, Yinfeng Xia, D. Lu, Lifang Zhu, Kumuduni Niroshika Palansooriya, Ki Hyun Kim, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The accumulation of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in aquatic ecosystems has become a global concern, as PTEs may exert a wide range of toxicological impacts on aquatic organisms. Submerged plants and the microorganisms attached to their surfaces, however, have displayed great potential as a means of coping with such pollution. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the transport pathways of PTEs across sediment and organisms as well as their accumulation mechanisms in the presence of submerged plants and their biofilms. The majority of previous studies have demonstrated that submerged plants and their biofilms are indicators of PTE pollution in the aquatic environment, yet relatively little is known about PTE accumulation in epiphytic biofilms. In this review, we describe the transport pathways of PTEs in the aquatic environment in order to offer remarkable insights into bioaccumulation mechanisms in submerged plants and their biofilms. Based on the literature cited in this review, the roles of epiphytic biofilms in bioaccumulation and as an indicator of ecosystem health are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105015
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biofilm
  • Indicator species
  • Potentially toxic element
  • Submerged plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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