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      Metal uptake, transport and release by wetland plants: implications for phytoremediation and restoration.

      Environment International
      Adsorption, Animals, Biodegradation, Environmental, Ecosystem, Food Chain, Metals, Heavy, analysis, metabolism, Plant Leaves, Poaceae, chemistry, growth & development, Water Purification, methods, Water Supply

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          Marshes have been proposed as sites for phytoremediation of metals. The fate of metals within plant tissues is a critical issue for effectiveness of this process. In this paper we review studies that investigate the effects of plants on metals in wetlands. While most of these marsh plant species are similar in metal uptake patterns and in concentrating metals primarily in roots, some species retain more of their metal burden in below ground structures than other species, which redistribute a greater proportion of metals into above ground tissues, especially leaves. Storage in roots is most beneficial for phytostabilization of the metal contaminants, which are least available when concentrated below ground. Plants may alter the speciation of metals and may also suffer toxic effects as a result of accumulating them. Metals in leaves may be excreted through salt glands and thereby returned to the marsh environment. Metal concentrations of leaf and stem litter may become enriched in metals over time, due in part to cation adsorption or to incorporation of fine particles with adsorbed metals. Several studies suggest that metals in litter are available to deposit feeders and, thus, can enter estuarine food webs. Marshes, therefore, can be sources and well as sinks for metal contaminants. Phragmites australis, an invasive species in the northeast U.S. sequesters more metals below ground than the native Spartina alterniflora, which also releases more via leaf excretion. This information is important for the siting and use of wetlands for phytoremediation as well as for marsh restoration efforts.

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