Lead uptake in diverse plant families: A study applying X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy

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The chemical environment of lead in roots and leaves of plants from four different plant families and a lichen from a former lead mining site in the Eifel Mountains in Germany was determined by Pb L3-edge XANES measurements using solid reference compounds and also aqueous solutions of different ionic strength simulating the plant environment. Pb2+ ions in the plants were found to have two major coordinations, one with nine oxygen atoms in the first coordination shell similar to outer-sphere complexation and a second coordination with just three oxygen atoms similar to inner-sphere complexation. This can be interpreted assuming that lead is sorbed on the surface of cell walls depending on the concentration of lead in the soil solution. Pb L3-edge XANES spectra of dried and fresh plant samples are very similar because sorption does not change with removal of water but only because of the initial ionic strength. No bonding to biologically important groups (-S, - N) or precipitation (-PO4) was found. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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Environmental Science and Technology

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