Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2014, 4(4): 162-175
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Dynamics of 35 trace elements throughout plant organs in the subalpine broad leaf evergreen shrub Rhododendron ferrugineum

Charles Marty1,2, Andre Pornon1, Thierry Lamaze2, Jerome Viers3
1Laboratoire evolution et Diversite Biologique (CNRS-UMR 5174), Universite Toulouse III, Bat. 4 R3, 118 route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse cedex 04, France
2Centre detudes spatiales de la biosphere (UMR CNES-CNRS-UPS-IRD 5126), 18 Av. Ed. Belin bpi 2801, 31401 Toulouse cedex, France
3Geosciences Environnement Toulouse, Observatoire Midi Pyrenees CNRS  IRD-Universite Paul Sabatier, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

Received 14 July 2014;Accepted 20 August 2014;Published online 1 December 2014

Increased atmospheric deposition and climate change might affect soil biogeochemical processes and release potentially toxic trace elements in the soil solution. The dynamics and the distribution among plant organs of many trace elements are nevertheless still poorly documented, especially in evergreen species. Here,we measured the concentration of 35 trace elements in roots, stems, as well as in current, 1 yr-old and 2 yr-old leaves (respectively L0, L1 and L2) of the subalpine evergreen shrub Rhododendron ferrugineum. In every plant compartment, concentrations decreased with increasing atomic number. Based on a PCA analysis and the distribution of elements among the different plant compartments at least two groups of elements could be distinguished: i) elements with a high retention factor (RF) in the root compartment and accumulating in leaves with leaf aging, resulting in concentrations decreasing in the order Roots >> Stems > L2 > L1 > L0; and ii) elements with a low RF resulting in leaf concentrations higher or close to those in roots and stems. However, in contrast with elements from the first group, the dynamics in the leaf compartment of elements from the second group was erratic, with concentrations increasing, decreasing or remaining constant with leaf aging.

Keywords Rhododendron ferrugineum;trace elements;retention factor;translocation;subalpine heathland.

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