Assessment of the contamination of riparian soil and vegetation by trace metals--A Danube River case study.
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V.
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The aim of this study was to assess the spatial distribution of arsenic and heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn) in a riparian area influenced by periodical flooding along a considerable stretch of the Danube River. This screening was undertaken on soil and plant samples collected from 43 sites along 2386 km of the river, collected during the international Joint Danube Survey 3 expedition (ICPDR, 2015). In addition, data on the concentration of these elements in river sediment was used in order to describe the relationship between sediment, riparian soil and riparian plants. A significant positive correlation (Spearman r, for p<0.05) was found for trace metal concentrations in river sediment and soil (r=0.817). A significant correlation between soil and plants (r=0.438) and sediment and plants (r=0.412) was also found for trace metal concentrations. Elevated levels of Cd, Cr, Cu, and Ni were found at certain sites along the Serbian stretch, while elevated concentrations of Hg were also detected in Hungary, of Pb along the Romanian stretch and of As along the Bulgarian stretch (the Lower Danube). These results point to the presence of naturally-occurring metals derived from ore deposits in the Danube River Basin and anthropogenic metals, released by mining and processing of metal ores and other industrial facilities, which are responsible for the entry of metals such as Cu, Ni and Zn. Our results also indicated toxic Cd and Zn levels in plant samples, measured at the Hercegsznato site (Middle Danube, Hungary), which highlighted these elements as a potential limiting factor for riparian vegetation in that area. The distribution of the analysed elements in plant material also indicates the species-specific accumulation of trace metals. Based on our results, the Lower and Middle Danube were found to be more polluted in terms of the analysed elements.
Keywords:Danube River; Riparian soil; Riparian vegetation; Trace metal pollution
Source:The Science of the total environment, 2016, 540, 396-409
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