Uzu, Gaëlle and Sobanska, Sophie and Sarret, Géraldine and Muñoz, Manuel and Dumat, Camille Foliar lead uptake by lettuce exposed to atmospheric fallouts. (2010) Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 44 (n°3). pp. 1036-1042. ISSN 0013-936X
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es902190u
Metal uptake by plants occurs by soil−root transfer but also by direct transfer of contaminants from the atmosphere to the shoots. This second pathway may be particularly important in kitchen gardens near industrial plants. The mechanisms of foliar uptake of lead by lettuce (Lactuca sativa) exposed to the atmospheric fallouts of a lead-recycling plant were studied. After 43 days of exposure, the thoroughly washed leaves contained 335 ± 50 mg Pb kg−1 (dry weight). Micro-X-ray fluorescence mappings evidenced Pb-rich spots of a few hundreds of micrometers in diameter located in necrotic zones. These spots were more abundant at the base of the central nervure. Environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis showed that smaller particles (a few micrometers in diameter) were also present in other regions of the leaves, often located beneath the leaf surface. In addition, submicrometric particles were observed inside stomatal openings. Raman microspectrometry analyses of the leaves identified smelter-originated Pb minerals but also secondary phases likely resulting from the weathering of original particles. On the basis of these observations, several pathways for foliar lead uptake are discussed. A better understanding of these mechanisms may be of interest for risk assessment of population exposure to atmospheric metal contamination.
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