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Application of Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Fluorescence (μ-SRXF) and X-Ray Microanalysis (SEM/EDX) for the Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of Trace Element Accumulation in Woody Plants

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Different analytical techniques were applied to describe the localization of lead and chromium in the tissues of walnut ( Juglans regia ) and maple ( Acer saccharinum ) plants exposed to soils that had been artificially contaminated with heavy metals. Two X-ray-based techniques, synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (μ-SRXF) and X-ray microanalysis (SEM/EDX), were utilized in association with induced coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). These techniques allowed the definition of maps showing a preferential accumulation of lead in the root periderm of both plants and a limited translocation of the metal to the stems. Accordingly, estimation of the lead concentration with ICP-OES showed that roots contained, on a dry weight basis, 20 to 40 times more metal than stems. Chromium, supplied to the plants as Cr 3+ or Cr 6+ , was taken up only in the latter case and in limited amounts. In general, walnut was more efficient than maple in the uptake of lead and chromium. The combination of X-ray-based techniques and ICP-OES proved to be a powerful quantitative tool in mapping, with high definition, the sites of metal storage in plant tissues.
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Keywords: Synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (μ-SRXF); chromium; induced coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES); lead; scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray microanalyzer (SEM/EDX)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali;, Università di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A, Parma, 43100, Italy 2: Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia e Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A, Parma, 43100, Italy

Publication date: April 1, 1999

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