Use and abuse of trace metal concentrations in plant tissue for biomonitoring and phytoextraction

Jan Mertens*, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Kris Verheyen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Some plant species accumulate trace metals from the soil in their aboveground biomass. Therefore, some scientists have concluded that these species are suitable for biomonitoring trace metal concentrations in the soil or for removing excessive trace metals from the soil by means of phytoextraction. A significant correlation between the chemical composition of foliage and soil is not a sufficient condition for using the chemical composition of foliage as a biomonitor for the quality of the soil. The chemical composition of foliage can, however, provide additional information to the traditional soil samples. The phytoextraction potential of a plant species cannot solely be evaluated on the basis of the trace metal concentrations in the plant and soil tissue. Data on the depth of the rooting zone, the density of the soil and the harvestable biomass should also be taken into account. Although plant tissue analysis is a useful tool in a wide range of studies and applications, trace metal concentrations in plant tissue cannot be viewed in isolation. Instead it should be analysed and interpreted in relation to other information such as soil concentrations, rooted zone, biomass production, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume138
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Bioindicator
  • Foliar analysis
  • Phytoextraction
  • Soil analysis
  • Trace metals

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