Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New plant species that can help soil depollution has been identified

Date:
July 23, 2014
Source:
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Summary:
The arsenic and heavy metal levels in plants from an old mine of Madrid has been studied by researchers who identified a species that can help in phytoremediation works. The main problem of heavy metal pollution is that cannot be degraded. For this reason, there are many studies based on the usage of plants and microorganisms as methods of soils depollution. However, the toxic metal accumulation needs control and removal in order to avoid its incorporation into the food chain.

Researchers at UPM have studied the arsenic and heavy metal levels in plants from an old mine of Madrid. They identified a species that can help in phytoremediation works.

The analysis of native terrestrial plants collected in the vicinity of the old mine of Mónica de Bustarviejo (Madrid) showed high levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc and very high levels of arsenic concentrations, mainly found in the roots. However, some plant species had higher concentrations in the air area such as the Corrigiola telephiifolia that was identified as a possible accumulator of lead and "super accumulator" of arsenic. According to researchers from the TEMATMA research group of the School of Civil Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, all this can be susceptible of being used in future works of phytoremediation of polluted soils.

Over the centuries, the relevance of arsenic has been based on its poisonous nature. However, its toxicity depends on the shape or the chemical species where is found (organic or inorganic species). Furthermore, some heavy metals are considered essential or toxics depending on its concentration level. Toxic heavy metals can affect nervous system and vital organs. Certain soils are a natural source of arsenic and heavy metal due to the mining activity. These soils contribute to increase the toxic levels in surface layers of soil and are able to persist even during centuries after cessation of the activity.

The main problem of heavy metal pollution is that cannot be degraded. For this reason, there are many studies based on the usage of plants and microorganisms as methods of soils depollution. However, the toxic metal accumulation needs control and removal in order to avoid its incorporation into the food chain.

The high concentrations of arsenic found by researchers of UPM in plants from the Mónica mine led to a research to identify and quantify the arsenic species in these plants. Researchers used an analytical method that allowed them to identify up to eleven species of arsenic. The goal of this analysis was to define the content of toxic species and to understand how plants with high concentration of arsenic can survive in these environments without showing toxicity symptoms.

The results showed a high degree of arsenic biotransformation (between 70 and 89% of total arsenic in plants). A part of this biotransformation was extractable compounds in acid medium and the other part was strongly linked to structural components which are non-extractable in aqueous media. All this gives evidence of the plant capacity to transform inorganic arsenic into other less toxic chemical forms.

The majority presences of arsenate followed by arsenite (the two most toxic arsenic species) along with slight concentrations of methylated species were identified among the easily soluble species. In all cases, the contents of toxic species were relatively high and this is an environmental issue because of its possible return to the environment and its incorporation into the food chain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara García-Salgado, M. Ángeles Quijano. Levels of toxic arsenic species in native terrestrial plants from soils polluted by former mining activities. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2014; 16 (3): 604 DOI: 10.1039/c3em00624g

Cite This Page:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "New plant species that can help soil depollution has been identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110657.htm>.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. (2014, July 23). New plant species that can help soil depollution has been identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110657.htm
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "New plant species that can help soil depollution has been identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110657.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins