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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Bioremediation and Biodegradation

Accumulation of Perchlorate in Aquatic and Terrestrial Plants at a Field Scale


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 5, p. 1638-1646
    Received: Nov 5, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): Andrew.jackson@coe.ttu.edu
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  1. Kui Tana,
  2. Todd A. Andersonb,
  3. Matthew W. Jonesa,
  4. Philip N. Smithb and
  5. W. Andrew Jackson *a
  1. a Department of Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79410
    b The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-1163


Previous laboratory-scale studies have documented perchlorate ClO 4 uptake by different plant species, but less information is available at field scale, where ClO 4 uptake may be affected by environmental conditions, such as distance to streams or shallow water tables, exposure duration, and species. This study examined uptake of ClO 4 in smartweed (Polygonum spp.) and watercress (Nasturtium spp.) as well as more than forty trees, including ash (Fraxinus greggii A. Gray), chinaberry (Melia azedarach L.), elm (Ulmus parvifolia Jacq.), willow (Salix nigra Marshall), mulberry [Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent.], and hackberry (Celtis laevigata Willd.) from multiple streams surrounding a perchlorate-contaminated site. Results indicate a large potential for ClO 4 accumulation in aquatic and terrestrial plants, with ClO 4 concentration in plant tissues approximately 100 times higher than that in bulk water. Perchlorate accumulation in leaves of terrestrial plants was also dependent on species, with hackberry, willow, and elm having a strong potential to accumulate ClO 4 Generally, trees located closer to the stream had a higher ClO 4 accumulation than trees located farther away from the stream. Seasonal leaf sampling of terrestrial plants indicated that ClO 4 accumulation also was affected by exposure duration, with highest accumulation observed in the late growing cycle, although leaf concentrations for a given tree were highly variable. Perchlorate may be re-released into the environment via leaching and rainfall as indicated by lower perchlorate concentrations in collected leaf litter. Information obtained from this study will be helpful to understand the fate of ClO 4 in macrophytes and natural systems.

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Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA