S J Dunham

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Swindon, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (12)41.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Food can be an important source of inorganic As for human intake. Recent studies have focused on rice, while little information is available on As accumulation, distribution, and speciation in wheat, which is the second most important food grain cereal. Grain samples of 26 wheat cultivars grown in five field trials located in productive farming regions in Europe were therefore analyzed for As concentration and speciation. Grain from four trials contained low concentrations of total As (7.7 +/- 5.4 microg kg(-1)), reflecting low levels of As in the soils (1.3-11 mg kg(-1)). In contrast, at one of the trial sites the As level in the soil was greater (29 mg kg(-1)), and much higher As concentrations (69 +/- 17 microg kg(-1)) were present in the wheat grain. Milling of wheat grain into bran and white flour fraction showed the concentration of As in the bran, with a 3.8-4.7-fold higher As concentration than in the white flour. Two methods (a phosphate buffer solution and 1% HNO(3)) were used to extract As species from wholemeal, bran, and white flour of wheat, with average extraction efficiencies of 65% and 88%, respectively. Only inorganic As was found in the extracts, with no methylated As being detected. The contribution of wheat to human intake of inorganic As is small for wheat crops grown in uncontaminated soils but becomes significant for those grown in soils with elevated As. In the latter case, milling can be used to reduce the As concentration in the white flour.
    Environmental Science and Technology 07/2010; 44(14):5464-8. · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 150 lines of bread wheat representing diverse origin and 25 lines of durum, spelt, einkorn and emmer wheat species were analysed for variation in micronutrient concentrations in grain. A subset of 26 bread wheat lines was grown at six sites or seasons to identify genetically determined differences in micronutrient concentrations. Substantial variation among the 175 lines existed in grain Fe, Zn and Se concentrations. Spelt, einkorn and emmer wheats appeared to contain higher Se concentration in grain than bread and durum wheats. Significant differences between bread wheat genotypes were found for grain Fe and Zn, but not Se concentration; the latter was influenced more by the soil supply. Grain Zn, but not Fe, concentration correlated negatively with grain yield, and there was a significant decreasing trend in grain Zn concentration with the date of variety release, suggesting that genetic improvement in yield has resulted in a dilution of Zn concentration in grain. Both grain Zn and Fe concentrations also correlated positively and significantly with grain protein content and P concentration, but the correlations with kernel size, kernel weight or bran yield were weak. The results from this study are useful for developing micronutrient biofortification strategies.
    Journal of Cereal Science - J CEREAL SCI. 01/2009; 49(2):290-295.
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    ABSTRACT: Wheat is an important source of minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium in the UK diet. The dietary intake of these nutrients has fallen in recent years because of a combination of reduced energy requirements associated with sedentary lifestyles and changes in dietary patterns associated with lower micronutrient density in the diet. Recent publications using data from food composition tables indicate a downward trend in the mineral content of foods and it has been suggested that intensive farming practices may result in soil depletion of minerals. The aim of our study was to evaluate changes in the mineral concentration of wheat using a robust approach to establish whether trends are due to plant factors (e.g. cultivar, yield) or changes in soil nutrient concentration. The mineral concentration of archived wheat grain and soil samples from the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment (established in 1843 at Rothamsted, UK) was determined and trends over time examined in relation to cultivar, yield, and harvest index. The concentrations of zinc, iron, copper and magnesium remained stable between 1845 and the mid 1960s, but since then have decreased significantly, which coincided with the introduction of semi-dwarf, high-yielding cultivars. In comparison, the concentrations in soil have either increased or remained stable. Similarly decreasing trends were observed in different treatments receiving no fertilizers, inorganic fertilizers or organic manure. Multiple regression analysis showed that both increasing yield and harvest index were highly significant factors that explained the downward trend in grain mineral concentration.
    Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 02/2008; 22(4):315-24. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the effectiveness of lime and red mud (by-product of aluminium manufacturing) to reduce metal availability to Festuca rubra and to allow re-vegetation on a highly contaminated brown-field site. Application of both lime and red mud (at 3 or 5%) increased soil pH and decreased metal availability. Festuca rubra failed to establish in the control plots, but grew to a near complete vegetative cover on the amended plots. The most effective treatment in decreasing grass metal concentrations in the first year was 5% red mud, but by year two all amendments were equally effective. In an additional pot experiment, P application in combination with red mud or lime decreased the Pb concentration, but not total uptake of Pb in Festuca rubra compared to red mud alone. The results show that both red mud and lime can be used to remediate a heavily contaminated acid soil to allow re-vegetation.
    Environmental Pollution 09/2006; 142(3):530-9. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Field trials were undertaken to investigate the effect of the application of metal mobilizing agents, different sowing strategies and length of growing season on the extraction of Cd and Zn from soils by Thlaspi caerulescens and Arabidopsis halleri. None of the mobilizing agents used enhanced metal accumulation by T. caerulescens. Between 1998 and 2000, on average across plots where Cd or Zn exceeded allowable limits, T. caerulescens removed 1.3 and 0.3% of the total soil Cd and Zn. In one season when T. caerulescens was grown for 14 months, 21.7 and 4.4% of the total soil Cd and Zn was removed. This was larger than values found when T. caerulescens was grown for 4 months. A. halleri accumulated similar concentrations of Zn, but lower Cd concentrations than T. caerulescens. The results indicate that metal phytoextraction using T. caerulescens can be used to clean up soils moderately contaminated by Cd.
    Environmental Pollution 06/2006; 141(1):115-25. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arabidopsis halleri is a well-known zinc (Zn) hyperaccumulator, but its status as a cadmium (Cd) hyperaccumulator is less certain. Here, we investigated whether A. halleri can hyperaccumulate Cd and whether Cd is transported via the Zn pathway. Growth and Cd and Zn uptake were determined in hydroponic experiments with different Cd and Zn concentrations. Short-term uptake and root-to-shoot transport were measured with radioactive 109Cd and 65Zn labelling. A. halleri accumulated > 1000 mg Cd kg(-1) in shoot dry weight at external Cd concentrations >or= 5 microm, but the short-term uptake rate of 109Cd was much lower than that of 65Zn. Zinc inhibited short-term 109Cd uptake kinetics and root-to-shoot translocation, as well as long-term Cd accumulation in shoots. Uptake of 109Cd and 65Zn were up-regulated, respectively, by low iron (Fe) or Zn status. A. halleri was much less tolerant to Cd than to Zn. We conclude that A. halleri is able to hyperaccumulate Cd partly, at least, through the Zn pathway, but the mechanisms responsible for cellular Zn tolerance cannot detoxify Cd effectively.
    New Phytologist 02/2006; 172(4):646-54. · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    F. J. Zhao, S. J. Dunham, S. P. McGrath
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    ABSTRACT: Summary • Pteris vittata was the first identified arsenic (As) hyperaccumulator. Our aim was to test whether As hyperaccumulation occurs in other fern species, and whether P. vittata collected from both contaminated and uncontaminated environments accumulates As similarly. • Three accessions of P. vittata, two cultivars of Pteris cretica, Pteris longifolia and Pteris umbrosa were grown with 0–500 mg As kg−1 added to the substrate. A second experiment compared As uptake by five common ferns obtained from commercial suppliers. • The results show that, in addition to P. vittata, P. cretica, P. longifolia and P. umbrosa also hyperaccumulate As to a similar extent. There was little difference between different Pteris species, or between different accessions of P. vittata. By contrast, Asplenium nidus, Davallia canarensis, Polypodium aureum, Polystichum tsus-simense do not hyperaccumulate As. • This study identified three new species of As hyperaccumulators in the Pteris genus and suggests that As hyperaccumulation is a constitutive property in P. vittata.
    New Phytologist 09/2002; 156(1):27 - 31. · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The capacity to accumulate cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) was compared in Thlaspi goesingense and four populations of Thlaspi caerulescens. Two populations of T. caerulescens were grown in hydroponics at five concentrations of Cd. In addition, plants were grown in pots containing compost in which three different concentrations of Cd and two concentrations of Zn were added. A field trial was conducted to compare Zn and Cd uptake by three populations of T. caerulescens on nine selected plots of the Woburn Market Garden Experiment (UK) which had been contaminated to different degrees with heavy metals owing to past applications of sewage sludge. Results show that the four populations of T. caerulescens had the same ability to hyperaccumulate Zn but were significantly different in terms of Cd accumulation. Two populations of T. caerulescens from Southern France accumulated much more Cd than the populations from Prayon (Belgium) and Whitesike (UK). Generally, uptake of Cd was not decreased by increased concentrations of Zn in the substrate. These results indicate that the mechanisms of Cd and Zn hyperaccumulation are not identical in this species. This is the first report of hyperaccumulation of Cd by T. goesingense, but the growth of this species was markedly reduced by the large concentrations of Zn in the substrate. Future work should focus on the differences between Cd and Zn uptake in hyperaccumulator plants at the species and population level.
    New Phytologist 12/2001; 145(1):11 - 20. · 6.74 Impact Factor
  • E Lombi, F J Zhao, S J Dunham, S P McGrath
    New Phytol. 01/2000; 145:11-20.
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    ABSTRACT: Changes in the extractability and uptake by crops of sludge metals in a long-term field experiment, started in 1942, were measured to assess whether Zn and Cd are either fixed by the sludge/soil constituents or are released as the sludge organic matter (OM) decomposes. Total and 0.1 M CaClâ-extractable concentrations of Zn and Cd in soil and total concentrations in crops were measured on archived crop and soil samples. Extractability of Zn as a proportion of the total ranged from 0.5 to 3% and that of Cd from 4 to 18%, and were higher in sludge-amended than farmyard manure or fertilizer-amended soils. Over a 23-yr period after 1961, when sludge was last applied, the extractability of both metals fluctuated, but neither decreased nor increased consistently. The relationships between total soil and crop metal concentrations were linear, with no evidence of a plateau across the range of soil metal concentrations achieved. The slopes of the soil-plant relationships depended on the type of crop or crop part examined, but were generally in the order red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) > sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) > carrot (Daucus carota L.) > barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). However, there also were large seasonal differences in metal concentrations in the crops. It is concluded from the available evidence that up to 23 yr after sludge applications cease, Zn and Cd extractability and bioavailability do not decrease.
    Journal of Environmental Quality 01/2000; 29(3):875-883. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    E Lombi, F J Zhao, S J Dunham, S P McGrath
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    ABSTRACT: A pot experiment was conducted to compare two strategies of phytoremediation: natural phytoextraction using the Zn and Cd hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens J. Presl & C. Presl versus chemically enhanced phytoextraction using maize (Zea mays L.) treated with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The study used an industrially contaminated soil and an agricultural soil contaminated with metals from sewage sludge. Three crops of T. caerulescens grown over 391 d removed more than 8 mg kg(-1) Cd and 200 mg kg(-1) Zn from the industrially contaminated soil, representing 43 and 7% of the two metals in the soil. In contrast, the high concentration of Cu in the agricultural soil severely reduced the growth of T. caerulescens, thus limiting its phytoextraction potential. The EDTA treatment greatly increased the solubility of heavy metals in both soils, but this did not result in a large increase in metal concentrations in the maize shoots. Phytoextraction of Cd and Zn by maize + EDTA was much smaller than that by T. caerulescens from the industrially contaminated soil, and was either smaller (Cd) or similar (Zn) from the agricultural soil. After EDTA treatment, soluble heavy metals in soil pore water occurred mainly as metal-EDTA complexes, which were persistent for several weeks. High concentrations of heavy metals in soil pore water after EDTA treatment could pose an environmental risk in the form of ground water contamination.
    Journal of Environmental Quality 30(6):1919-26. · 2.35 Impact Factor
  • C Keller, S P McGrath, S J Dunham
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether sludge applications to soil would lead in the short term to toxicity to plants and trace metal leaching to ground water, we studied the fate of some trace and major elements in a brown soil-meadow system just after repeated sewage sludge applications. The main pathways were quantified over a 37-mo period with undisturbed monolith lysimeters including two controls, four lysimeters treated with 3 x 100 m3 ha-1, and four with 3 x 400 m3 ha-1 of sewage sludge. In drainage waters the effect was limited in time and, in the case of NO3-N and Cl, delayed by 1 to 4 mo and lasted several months before returning to background conditions. Nickel and Cu concentrations in solution increased also after sludge application and had not return to background conditions after 20 mo. Trace metal concentrations did not reach toxic levels in herbage and N, Cu, Cd, and Zn concentrations were correlated with the first sludge input only. Calculated over a 37-mo period, total element output was significantly increased for Ca, NO3-N, and Ni only, because of the time-dependent response to sludge application and high variability between replicates. Output was maximal for Cd, with 1.5% of total input for the 100 m3 ha-1 treatment. Particulate matter in drainage water accounted for an average of 20% of trace metal leaching. The main long-term risk was the rapid increase in trace metal concentrations in the topsoil, which may eventually lead to toxic levels in herbage.
    Journal of Environmental Quality 31(5):1550-60. · 2.35 Impact Factor