Maria Greger

Maria Greger

Docent, Forskare

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Works at Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences
Telephone 08-16 12 10
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 20 A
Room N 354
Postal address Institutionen för ekologi miljö och botanik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Associate Professor in Plant Physiology. Head of the Plant Metal Group.

My research interest is uptake and effects of heavy metals and metalloids in higher plants and the mechanisms behind, especially those making the differences in uptake and tolerance between plant species and cultivars. Furthermore, phytoremediation, using plants to clean soil and water especially from metals and metalloids, and silicon influences on plant metal uptake. I am involved in teaching and supervision at all levels and responsible for the master course Plants in Environmental Treatment.


Specific project areas:

  • Silicon influences on Cd and As accumulation in plants.
  • Phytoremediation using Salix spp.
  • Arsenic speciation in soil-plant system.
  • Phytoremediation of polluted water using plants
  • Silicon influences of plant uptake of nutrient elements

For many years we have been working on the question how to decrease Cd concentration in wheat grains, since 43% of our daily intake originates from wheat. We have found our that it is possible to use 1) Willow to clean soil for four years to decrease the Cd concentration in grains of post grown wheat with 33%, or 2) Silicon to decrease Cd transport from root to the grains and by that decreased the Cd concentration in grains with up to 50%. We have in addition found that Silicon decreases both Cd and As concentration in potato, lettuce, onion, carrots and wheat. The work has been done in both laboratory an field experiments and we working further with the mechanisms behind these findings.

Salix for phytoremediation
Salix for phytoremediation


We have also been working with speciation of arsenic in the soil-plant system using various methods. Currently my group is working on removal of arsenik from water by the use of water mosses.

Lately we have started a project which investigate the effect of silicon on availability in soil and plant uptake of all plant nutrients and Cd and As. We have found the P availability in soil increases and thus P uptake also increases in the plants.

Silicon inhibit the Cd uptake also on cellular  level, shown by using protoplast loaded with a fluorescent dye, which binds free Cd. Silicon inhibit metal transporters in the plasma membrane and also inhibits the transporter, which promote the translocation from root to shoot of Cd.



Selected recent publications

Greger M., Kabir A. H., Landberg T., Maity P. J. & Lindberg S. 2016. Silicate reduces cadmium uptake into cells of wheat. — Environmental Pollution 211: 90-97

Greger M. & Landberg T. 2016. Silicon decreases cadmium and arsenic in field grown crops. — Silicon.

Greger M, Bergqvist C, Sandhi, A, Landberg T. 2015. Influence of silicon on arsenic uptake and toxicity in lettuce. — J. Appl. Bot.. Food Qual. 88: 234-240  

Greger M. & Landberg T. 2015. Novel field data on phytoextraction: Precultivation with Salix reduces cadmium in wheat grains. — Int. J. Phytorem. 17: 917-924.

Bergqvist C., Herbert R., Persson I. & Greger M. 2014. Plants influence on arsenic availability and speciation in the rhizosphere, roots and shoots of three different vegetables. — Environ. Pollut. 184: 540-546.


Last updated: February 25, 2021

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