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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Uptake of Al, As, Cr, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn in native wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass on three metal-contaminated soils from Montana

Authors
item Yun, Lan -
item Jensen, Kevin
item Larson, Steven
item Staub, Jack

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 22, 2014
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
Citation: Yun, L., K.B. Jensen, S.R. Larson, J.E. Staub. 2014. Uptake of Al, As, Cr, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn in native wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass. J. of Environmental Quality (Submitted 13 May 2014).

Interpretive Summary: Sources of heavy accumulation in the western U.S. are often associated with mine tailings or overburden piles left after mining activities. Many of these regions are associated with reduced annual precipitation, increased temperatures, and soils that exhibit low and high pH, salinity, and lack essential nutrients and structure which challenge plant establishment and persistence. One of the biggest challenges to successfully phytoremediate contaminated mineland soils is to identify native plants that are adapted to a broad range of ecological sites that either exclude or uptake heavy metals of interest. This study evaluated forage concentrations of aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mn), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), strontium (Sr), and zinc (Zn) in native wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass when grown in mine tailings from three surface mines in western Montana. Significant differences were observed between species for all metals except Al, Fe, and Pb. In general, with the exception of Cu, Sr, and Zn, cultivars within the different species did not differ in their metal concentrations. Based on reduced forage Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Sr concentrations from the three Montana mine sites the wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass had concentrations that posed limited to no threat of plant and animal toxicity. COmpounds such as As, Cd, and Zn did have concentrations that could result in plant and animal toxicity.

Technical Abstract: One of the biggest challenges to successfully phytoremediate contaminated mineland soils is the identification of native plants that possess a broad adaptation to ecological sites and either exclude or uptake heavy metals of interest. This study evaluated forage concentrations of aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mn), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), strontium (Sr), and zinc (Zn) in native wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass when grown in soil originating from mine tailings from three surface mines in western Montana. Significant differences were observed between species for all metals, except Al, Fe, and Pb. However, a significant soil by species interaction for all metals, except Al, Fe, and Pb, suggests the need to evaluate plant forage metal uptake when grown on target soils to identify appropriate plant species for restoration. In general, with the exception of Cu, Sr, and Zn, cultivars within the different species did not differ in their metal concentrations. Based on plant forage Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Sr concentrations from the Montana sites, wheatgrasses, wildryes, and bluegrass possessed metal concentrations that posed limited to no threat of plant and animal toxicity. Plants did possess As, Cd, and Zn concentrations that could result in plant and animal toxicity. Based on plant forage metal concentration, none of the grasses would be considered hyperaccumulator species.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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