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Interactions between Essential Nutrients with Platinum Group Metals in Submerged Aquatic and Emergent Plants

Diehl, Deborah B., Gagnon, Zofia E.
Water, air, and soil pollution 2007 v.184 no.1-4 pp. 255-267
platinum, rhodium, palladium, metals, pollutants, pollution, Elodea canadensis, submerged aquatic plants, Peltandra virginica, emergent plants, nutrient uptake, bioaccumulation, pH, humic acids, chlorophyll, chlorosis, plant nutrition, calcium, zinc, New York
Increasing environmental concentrations of platinum group metals (PGMs), in particular platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh) and palladium (Pd), from catalytic converters has been reported worldwide. The impact of these three metals on the uptake and use of essential mineral nutrients was examined using two plant models: the submerged aquatic plant, Elodea canadensis, and the terrestrial emergent plant, Peltandra virginica. Plants were grown for 2 weeks in nutrient solutions with either Pt⁴⁺ at concentrations between 0.05 and 5 mg/L, or a 0.1 mg/L Pt⁴⁺, Rh³⁺, Pd²⁺ mixture. Some treatments received additional Ca²⁺, Zn²⁺, or humic acid (with varying pH) to study how these conditions affected PGM uptake. Metal concentration analyses were conducted using a graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer (GFAAS) or an inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometer (ICP). Growth response was assessed through total chlorophyll content. There was significant Pt accumulation in plant tissues, from 55 to 326 times the concentration in nutrient solution. At pH 8, the addition of humic acid doubled Pt accumulation in comparison to the control. Additional exogenous minerals did not significantly affect PGM uptake, nor did the uptake of PGMs interfere with the uptake of Ca, Fe or Cu. Synthesis of chlorophyll in new shoots was not affected by Pt accumulation; however, visible chlorosis was observed in older shoots at 5 ppm Pt. Roadside Daucus carota samples from four heavy traffic locations in Dutchess County (New York) were also assessed for PGM content. Pt, Pd and Rh concentrations averaged 14.6, 10.2, and 0.7 μg/g, respectively.