SOIL AND FOLIAR MERCURY EMISSION AS A FUNCTION OF SOIL CONCENTRATION

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Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate net mercury flux associated with seedlings of two species (Populus tremuloides and Pinus ponderosa) grown in three soil exposure concentrations (0.010 ± 0.001, 6.15 ± 0.86, and 25.56 ± 2.10 μg Hg g-1) and to determine if mercury flux from vegetation was directly correlated with mercury concentration in the soil. Net mercury flux was measured using a gas exchange system. Mercury emission from foliage was not influenced by mercury concentration in the soil. Experiments were also done to assess the significance of mercury emission from vegetation relative to that occurring from associated soils. Mean soil mercury emissions were 1 to 3 orders of magnitude higher than that from plants grown in similar soil mercury concentrations. Light and the addition of water were found to significantly increase mercury emission from soils, and the magnitude of the flux response to watering was correlated with soil mercury concentration.

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