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Distribution and Metal-Accumulating Behavior of Thlaspi caerulescens and Associated Metallophytes in France

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The heavy metal hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens is widespread in France on many kinds of sites and substrates, including Zn/Pb/Cd mine and smelter wastes, Ni-rich serpentine outcrops and a variety of nonmetalliferous soils. Thlaspi caerulescens is remarkable among the metallophytes of France because it accumulates Zn to high concentrations (almost always >0.1%, and often >1% in the dry matter) regardless of the total Zn concentration of the substrate. The extraordinary uptake of Zn from soils of normal Zn concentration draws attention to the need for studies of the mechanisms by which such mobilization and uptake can occur. Different populations of Thlaspi caerulescens in France show considerable variation in their ability to accumulate Cd; individuals in some populations contain as much as 0.1 to 0.4% Cd, the highest levels recorded in vascular plants. The hyperaccumulation of Ni (sometimes exceeding 1%) from serpentine soils in France is also noteworthy. Despite the generally low biomass, some very large individuals occur, giving good potential for selective breeding to improve the value of Thlaspi caerulescens for phytoremediation, especially of Cd. The high Zn uptake from all kinds of soils is a property shared by the related T. brachypetalum , and T. alpinum shows dual Zn- and Ni uptake, depending on the substrate. The extent to which other species of Thlaspi occurring in France exhibit metal accumulation is also discussed.
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Keywords: Thlaspi species; cadmium; hyperaccumulation; mine and smelter wastes; nickel; serpentine; zinc

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Fundamental Sciences — Chemistry, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand 2: Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, ENSAIA-INRA/INPL, 2 avenue de la Forêt de Haye, BP 172, F-54505 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex, France 3: Liverpool Museum, National Museum and Galleries on Merseyside, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EN, United Kingdom

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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