Synchrotron Micro-Scale Measurement of Metal Distributions in Phragmites Australis and Typha Latifolia Root Tissue from an Urban Brownfield Site

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Liberty State Park in New Jersey, USA, is a "brownfield" site containing various levels of contaminants. To investigate metal uptake and distributions in plants on the brownfield site, Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia were collected in Liberty State Park during the growing season (May-September) in 2011 at two sites with the high and low metal loads, respectively. The objective of this study was to understand the metal (Fe, Mn, Cu, Pb and Zn) concentration and spatial distributions in P. australis and T. latifolia root systems with micro-meter scale resolution using synchrotron X-ray microfluorescence (μXRF) and synchrotron X-ray computed microtomography (μCMT) techniques. The root structure measurement by synchrotron μCMT showed that high X-ray attenuation substance appeared in the epidermis. Synchrotron μXRF measurement showed that metal concentrations and distributions in the root cross-section between epidermis and vascular tissue were statistically different. Significant correlations were found between metals (Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn) and Fe in the epidermis, implying that metals were scavenged by Fe oxides. The results from this study suggest that the expression of metal transport and accumulation within the root systems may be element specific. The information derived from this study can improve our current knowledge of the wetland plant ecological function in brownfield remediation.



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