Accumulation properties of As Cd Cu Pb and Zn by four wetland plant species growing on submersed mine tailings.

Stoltz E., Greger M.
Environmental and Experimental Botany


Plants may reduce element leakage from submerged mine tailings by phytostabilisation. However, high shoot concentrations of elements might disperse them and could be harmful to grazing animals. The aim of this investigation was to find out which of the three properties; low-accumulation, root accumulation or shoot accumulation of elements, occur in four of the most common wetland species growing on an old submerged mine tailings and if their properties can be determined by a hydroponic experiment. Above- and below-ground parts of Salix (mixed tissue from S. phylicifolia and S. borealis), Carex rostrata, Eriophorum angustifolium, and Phragmites australis were sampled and analysed for Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb and As. Differences in uptake and translocation properties of the same plant species were observed between field-grown plants and plants grown in hydroponics. These differences were probably due to processes in the soil–root interface. Thus, hydroponic screening studies should not be used to find suitable species for vegetation of wet-covered mine tailings. Most species were found to have restricted translocation of elements to the shoot, i.e. they were root accumulators, and only the shoot concentrations of Salix for Cd and Zn and E. angustifolium for Pb might be toxic to grazing animals. Thus, plant establishment on submerged tailings can be a safe method to stabilise the metals.



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