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Traffic-related trace element fate and uptake by plants cultivated in roadside soils in Toronto, Canada

, : Traffic-related trace element fate and uptake by plants cultivated in roadside soils in Toronto, Canada. Science of the Total Environment 442: 86-95

This research examines traffic-related trace element emissions and their uptake by plants grown in urban roadside environments in Toronto, Canada. Oregano (Origanum vulgare), beets (Beta vulgaris) and eggplants (Solanum melongena) were cultivated at four locations with variable traffic-related metal inputs in 2010. The top 30 cm of soil at the medium-traffic location was first replaced with a triple mix soil (topsoil, compost and peat) to control for pre-existing contamination. The same soil was used to cultivate at the two no/low traffic locations. Soil at the heavy traffic location was not remediated. Soil, plant tissue and plant rhizosphere samples were collected for the analysis of a range of traffic-related metal(loids) using ICP-MS, including Cr, Mn, Cu, Ni, Cd, As, Sb and Pb. Samples were digested with HNO(3) and HCl using a microwave-assisted digestion procedure and then treated with HF prior to analysis. Two certified reference materials, San Joaquin soil (NIST 2709a) and trace elements in spinach leaves (NIST 1570a), were used for QA/QC purposes. Metal(loid) concentrations and accumulation over time were highly variable at the medium traffic site where the soil was replaced. Mn (p<0.10), As (p<0.10) and Sb (p<0.01) concentrations significantly increased in bulk soils from May to November 2010, while Ce (p<0.01) and Cd (p<0.10) levels decreased. For instance, median As concentrations increased from 4.39 to 8.40 mg/kg over this period. Metals were found to be more bioaccessible to O. vulgare grown in the new soil at the medium traffic volume site, compared to the aged soil at the heavy traffic location. Several elements, most notably Cd, were also found to accumulate in the root zone of sampled S. melongena. Metal concentrations in S. melongena rhizosphere were better predictors of plant tissue levels, providing evidence that soil quality guidelines based on total metal concentrations for bulk soils are inadequate.


PMID: 23178768

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.10.051

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