Title Distribution and deposition of heavy metals in metallophytes of the Eastern Alps (Austria) 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. Objectives 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 Methodology 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.