Distribution and deposition of heavy metals in metallophytes of the Eastern
Project funding duration
FWF Austrian Science Fund (P 15991-B03; 2003-2004)
Project co-ordinator* research team
Helmuth Sieghardt*, Bettina Aigner, Wolfgang Punz
Main hypothesis
On heavy-metal contaminated sites in the Easten Alps, the life cycle of higher
plants is often characterized by very high heavy metal contents in the soil. The often
steep, heavy-metal-contaminated dead ore heaps are colonized by plants that are
capable of maintaining populations in polluted environments. Such plants are
termed metallophytes.
The objective of the research project is to determine where and how metallophytes
(accumulators/hyperaccumulators) in the Eastern Alps (Austria) accumulate and
store on a cellular level heavy metals in different tissues/structures at this species
and which strategies are used for the mastering of the heavy metal stress
a) Investigation and analysis of the plant material; the meaning of trichomes and
biocrystals in accumulating heavy metals will be investigated . Heavy metals
(lead, copper, cadmium, zinc) will be documented and semi-quantitatively
dertermined using the energy-dispersive electron-beam microanalysis (ESMA)
system Link QX combined with SEM; AAS will be applied for the chemical
total analysis of organs.
b) Substrate and analysis procedure; plant samples will be supplemented by soil
samples from the rhizosphere region of the respective calamine sites (lead/zinc)
and non heavy-metal sites.
Project outputs
poster presentation at the ÖAPP-meeting 2003; paper in preparation.