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Antimony, arsenic and lead distribution in soils and plants of an agricultural area impacted by former mining activities

Álvarez-Ayuso, E., Otones, V., Murciego, A., García-Sánchez, A., Regina, I. Santa
The Science of the total environment 2012 v.439 pp. 35-43
Dactylis glomerata, agricultural soils, antimony, arsenic, environmental impact, lead, mining, phytoremediation, plant exploration and collection, roots, soil sampling, wheat
An agricultural area impacted by the former exploitation of an arsenical lead-antimony deposit was studied in order to assess the current and eventual environmental and health impacts. Samples of soils and cultivated (wheat) and spontaneously growing plants were collected at different distances from the mine pits and analyzed for the toxic element content and distribution. The soil total concentrations of Sb, As and Pb found in the uppermost soil layer (14.1–324, 246–758 and 757–10,660mgkg⁻¹, respectively) greatly surpass their maximum tolerable levels in agricultural soils. Wheat grain Pb concentrations (0.068–1.36mgkg⁻¹) exceed the prescribed health standard, whereas Sb (<0.05–0.103mgkg⁻¹) and As (<0.05–0.126mgkg⁻¹) concentrations are below the permissible limits fixed for cereals. Of the spontaneously growing plants, Dactylis glomerata L. shows a relatively high root Pb accumulation and a very low Pb translocation, suggesting its feasibility to be used in Pb phytostabilization strategies.