Polish Journal of Environmental Studies
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ISO Abbrev. Title: Pol. J. Environ. Stud.

DOI: 10.15244/pjoes/63413

Vol. 25, No. 6 (2016), 2315-2325


Biogeochemical Assessment of a Zn-Contaminated Site Using Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) Needles as Phytoindicators

Jean Diatta1, Jerzy Nawracała2, Agnieszka Andrzejewska1, Ewa Chudzińska3, Agata Duczmal-Czernikiewicz4

1Poznań University of Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Environmental Biogeochemistry,
Wojska Polskiego 71F, 60-625, Poznań, Poland
2Poznań University of Life Sciences, Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding,
Dojazd 11, 60-632, Poznań, Poland
3Adam Mickiewicz University, Institute of Experimental Biology, Department of Genetics,
Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
4Adam Mickiewicz University, Institute of Geology and Department of Mineralogy and Petrology,
Maków Polnych 16, 61-606 Poznań, Poland


Abstract: The aim of our study was to evaluate the mobility of Zn in soils subjected to the activity of a zinc smelter and to assess the contamination of 1- and 2-year-old needles of Scots pine species sensitive to and tolerant of heavy metal contamination, particularly zinc. The trees were selected on the basis of their morphology, i.e., tolerant ones exhibited quite normal growth shape, but sensitive ones were more or less dwarves. Mineralogical composition revealed the prevalence of kaolinite in all soils except for two samples, where smectite dominated. Zinc contamination exceeded 30 times the geochemical background, and the reactive Zn forms represented 34.6% of total Zn content (ZnTotal). Proton generation capacity (α) indices calculated for the bioavailable Zn fraction (ZnBio) were 59% higher compared to the reactive Zn pool (ZnReac). Two-year-old tolerant (T) pine needles accumulated 21.9, 38.2, and 13.6% more Zn, Fe, and Mg, respectively, as compared to 1-year-old ones. For sensitive (S) needles, the range followed: 12.4, 48.8, and 7.3%, respectively. Iron was considered a “strategic survival element” for both pines growing under high zinc pollution.
The transfer of Zn ions from the soil environment to plants still remains the basic source of maintaining its high concentrations in the needles, since air emissions ceased in 1996. The amounts of Zn accumulated by Scots pine at crucial years of metallurgical emissions may be considered as an additional time-constant source due to the evergreen vegetative lifecycle.

 

Keywords: soil, Zn, contamination, mineralogy, Scots pine, Mg, Fe, needles


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