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The heavy metal content of soil and shoots of Vaccinium myrtillus L. in the Słowiński National Park


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The research was carried out in the Słowiński National Park, in an area with 15 research stations in pine coniferous forests situated at locations (1) inaccessible to tourists, (2) most frequently visited by tourists as well as (3) in the vicinity of parking lots. The analysed samples comprised surface generic levels (Ol, Ofh, A), aboveground material (shoots; leaves and stems) and below-ground material (roots) of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). The performed analyses showed statistically significant Spearman’s correlation coefficients for Zn content in the ‘soil - stems:’ (r = -0.44, p < 0.05, n = 45) relationship and the ‘soil - roots’ relationship (r = -0.52, p < 0.05, n = 45). Accordingly, there were significant statistical differences (U Mann-Whitney test) in zinc content in the ‘stems - roots’ relationship and the ‘leaves - roots’ relationship. Furthermore, the obtained results reveal an excessive accumulation of Mn in V. myrtillus. The content of the investigated heavy metals in V. myrtillus shoots decreased in the following order: Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu
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Leśne Prace Badawcze (Forest Research Papers),
September 2014, Vol. 75 (3): 217–224
DOI: 10.2478/frp-2014-0020
Received 11 January 2014, accepted after revision 10 March 2014.
© 2014, Forest Research Institute
The heavy metal content of soil and shoots of Vaccinium myrtillus L.
in the Słowiński National Park
Agnieszka Parzych
Pomeranian University in Słupsk, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology and Environmental
Protection, Department of Environmental Chemistry, ul. Arciszewskiego 22b, 76-200 Słupsk, Poland.
Tel. +48 59 84 05 347, fax +48 59 84 05
Abstract. The research was carried out in the Słowiński National Park, in an area with
research stations in
coniferous forests situated at locations (1) inaccessible to tourists, (2) most frequently visited by tourists as well
as (3)
in the vicinity of parking lots. The analysed samples comprised surface generic levels (Ol, Ofh, A), above-
material (shoots; leaves and stems) and below-ground material (roots) of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus).
The performed
analyses showed statistically significant Spearman’s correlation coefficients for Zn content in the
‘soil – stems:’ (r = -0.44,
p < 0.05, n = 45) relationship and the ‘soil
roots’ relationship (r = -0.52, p < 0.05, n =
45). Accordingly, there were
significant statistical differences (U Mann-Whitney test) in zinc content in the
‘stems roots’ relationship and the ‘leaves – roots’ relationship. Furthermore, the obtained results reveal an
excessive accumulation of Mn in V. myrtillus. The content of the investigated heavy metals in V. myrtillus shoots
decreased in the following order: Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu
935; e-mail:
Key words: bilberry, leaves, stems, roots, accumulation of Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, protected area
1. Introduction
Heavy metals are innate components of the natural
environment. The intrinsic content of these elements in
the lithosphere shapes the so-called geochemical back-
ground and is spatially diversied. In the recent years,
the emission due to anthropogenic factors has become a
considerable source of heavy metals. These are subject
to long-range atmospheric transport as constituents of at-
mospheric particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) or else
aerosols, which results in contamination of ecosystems
situated quite far from emission sources (Klink et al.
2006; Tainio et al. 2010; Brożek, Zarembski 2011). As
natural components of ecosystems, the elements such as
zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu) are
necessary for appropriate functioning of plants as long as
they are available in small amounts. Conversely, exces-
sively high concentrations of these metals are harmful to
natural environment. At increased heavy metal contents,
ecosystem functioning is disturbed, and this is threaten-
ing to plants, animals and humans (Gruca-Królikowska,
Wacławek 2006; Malzahn 2009). Heavy metals bioaccu-
mulate in plant and animal tissues, which results in high
risk of poisoning with these elements in subsequent links
of the trophic chain. Plant uptake of nutrients such as iron,
manganese, zinc and copper from soil relies upon plant
physiological requirements; nevertheless, it can also be
brought about by environmental contamination. The con-
tent of metals in plant tissues also depends on their avail-
ability in soil as well as on plant species, its growth stage
and morphological features. The results of research stud-
ies conrm that plants selectively uptake elements from
surrounding environment. The nutrients are utilised by
plants for own tissue building processes as well as they
take part in numerous metabolic pathways. In the world
of plants, there exist a distinct tendency to uptake and ac-
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A. Parzych / Leśne Prace Badawcze, 2014, Vol. 75 (3): 217
cumulate certain elements (Łaszewska et al. 2007). Plants
response in different ways to increased heavy metal con-
centrations in environment. The specic sensitivity of
some plant species to the presence of heavy metals in
soil allows for the determination of the degree, range
and structure of environmental changes. Amongst plant
utilised for bioindication purposes, bilberry low-growing
shrubs Vaccinium myrtillus L. offer practical application
for attaining information on a degree of environment con-
tamination (Reimann et al. 2001; Uhlig, Junttila 2001;
Salemaa et al. 2004; Białońska et al. 2007; Kukla, Kuk-
lová 2008; Mróz, Demczuk 2010; Kandziora-Ciupa et al.
2013; Remon et al. 2013). Bilberry V. myrtillus grows
both on contaminated areas and those free of pollution.
It is a domineering species in the majority of pine Pinus
silvestris and mixed forests growing under temperate cli-
mate conditions (Białońska et al. 2007). Vaccinio myr-
tilli-Pinetum habitat constitutes the ecological optimum
for bilberry plants, which means that the species shows
the highest frequency, density, biomass and productivity
under these habitat conditions (Moszyńska 1983; Gug-
nacka-Fiedor 1994; Gerdol 2004; Zvereva, Kozlov 2005;
Parzych, Sobisz 2010). Every year, in nearly all forest
communities, V. myrtillus puts back into the litter high
amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium as well as
manganese and iron contained in fallen leaves and adds to
important elements for proper functioning of forest eco-
systems. Studies on bioindication include bilberry leaves,
stems and roots (Mróz, Demczuk 2010; Kozanecka et al.
2002) as well as fruits ((Demczuk, Garbiec 2009; Pająk,
Jasik 2012). Bylińska (1992), Reimann et al. (2001) and
Boyd (2007) ranked V. myrtillus as plant species with su-
perior abilities to accumulate manganese.
The aim of the present study was to: examine Zn,
Fe, Mn and Cu contents in the leaves, stems and roots
of bilberry V. myrtillus L. growing within the protected
area, evaluate metal accumulation capacity across plant
parts, assess the effect of heavy metal contents in soil on
their concentration in bilberry shoots and appraise con-
tamination extent in the Słowiński National Park.
2. Materials and research methods
2.1. Research area
The study comprised forest areas within the Słowiński
National Park (SNP) located within the Łebska Spit (pro-
tective zones: Rowy, Łeba, Smołdziński Las). The study
area was situated at 17°03–17°33 east longitude an
54°37–54°46 north latitude (Fig. 1). In the park, there
prevail pine forests (71.5%), mixed pine forests (21.4%),
mixed forests (1.6%) and unclassied forest (5.5%). The
groundcover includes mainly bilberry low-growing shrubs,
mosses and lichens. The samples of bilberry aboveground
parts (leaves and stems) and roots as well as soil samples
from organic and humus horizons (Ol, Ofh and A) were
collected in September 2011 from 15 research sites placed
within SNP area. The sites were positioned either in plac-
es with no access for tourists or within most often visited
areas or else in the vicinity of parking lots.
Figure 1. Situation
plan of
the Słowiński
National Park –
locations of the study
sites and parking
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In the samples of organic and humus soil horizons, there
were assessed soil active acidity (pH in H2O), exchangea-
ble soil acidity (1 M·dm-3 KCl solution) as well as organic
matter content (loss on ignition method using a mufe fur-
nace at 550°C). Plant material was cleaned of soil mineral
particles, rinsed in distilled water, divided into above- and
underground parts, dried out at 65°C and then homoge-
nised in a blender. The samples of soil and V. myrtilus were
wet mineralised in a mixture of HNO3 and 30% H2O2 using
the closed system. In the obtained solution, the contents of
Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu by means of atomic absorption spec-
troscopy (AAS) with the use of Perkin Elmer Analyst 300
apparatus (Ostrowska et al. 1991) and Merck KGaA stand-
ard solutions (1 g/1000 ml) were analysed.
2.2. Analyses of the results
Comparisons of the concentrations of the heavy met-
als examined in the above- and underground parts of V.
myrtillus were based on computed mean as well as max-
imum and minimum values, standard deviations, coef-
cients of variation (CV) and enrichment factors (EF).
The normality of distribution of the concentration of Zn,
Fe, Mn and Cu in V. myrtilus shoots was evaluated using
the Shapiro-Wilk test. The non-parametric Mann–Whit-
ney U-test was used to compare heavy metal concen-
trations in the parts of plants examined. All statistical
analyses were performed using Statistica 7.1. software.
3. Results and Discussion
The samples of organic and humus soil horizons in
the Łebska Spit indicated strongly acidic reaction (Table
1). The organic fermentative humic subhorizon (Ofh)
showed the highest active (pH H2O) and exchangeable
acidity (pH KCl) with pH values from 3.1 to 4.1 and from
2.5 to 3.1, respectively. For all 15 research sites, coef-
cients of variation (CV) of pH (H2O) and pH (KCl) were
from 5% to 8%. Slightly lower acidity, i.e. pH (H2O)
ranging from 3.9 to 5.0, was observed in the humus hori-
zon (A). The largest content of organic matter was found
in the litter sub-horizon (Ol), i.e. 91.6–98.5% and then
in Ofh (39.0–97.2%), whereas the lowest organic matter
content was found in the soil horizon A (0.6–5.9%). With
an increasing depth of soil horizon position, organic mat-
ter content decreased and varied from 2% to 59%.
The content of the examined heavy metals in upper
soil horizons in SNP was differentiated. The largest am-
mounts of Zn, Fe and Mn were found in the subhorizon Ol,
then in Ofh, whereas in A horizon heavy metal contents
were the lowest. In case of copper, the highest contents
were observed in the subhorizon Ofh. Average concen-
tration of zinc in the soil horizons was: 68.9 (Ol),
47.0 (Ofh) and 2.9 (A), and varied within
15 research sites from 28% to 33% (Table 2). The con-
tent of iron showed variation from 35% to 134% within
15 research sites, and on average it was 469.0 in
Ol, 1609.0 in Ofh and 346.0 in the hori-
zon A. Average content of manganese was 206.2
in Ol, 40.0 in Ofh and 4.2 in A horizon,
whereas variation coefcient for this element took values
from 52% to 58%. In the soils tested, there were observed
considerably lower contents of copper, i.e. 0.8 in
the subhorizon Ol, 0.9 in Ofh and 0.09 in
the horizon A. At the same time, Cu concentration in the
soil horizons investigated indicated lesser variation as a
result of exceptionally low mobility of this element (Ka-
bata-Pendias, Pendias 1999).
The concentration of Zn in the above- and underground
V. myrtillus shoots showed considerable variation depend-
ing on the research site and the plant section analysed. The
content of zinc was from 14.9 to 69.4 in bilberry
leaves, from 38.0 to 108.0 in the stems and from
9.7 to 51.4 mg.kg1 in the roots (Fig. 2). The highest Zn
Table 1. pH and organic matter in organic and humus horizons in SNP
pH (H2O) pH (KCl) Organic matter [%]
Ol Ofh A Ol Ofh A Ol Ofh A
Average 4.4±0.2 3.8±0.2 4.4±0.3 3.5±0.2 2.8±0.2 3.3±0.2 96.6±0.02 76.9±0.2 3.1±0.01
Minimum 4.1 3.1 3.9 3.0 2.5 2.9 91.6 39.0 0.6
Maximum 4.7 4.1 5.0 3.8 3.1 3.6 98.5 97.2 5.9
Median 4.4 3.9 4.4 3.6 2.8 3.4 97.5 73.8 2.6
CV [%] 577868 2 23 59
CV – coefcient of variation
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Table 2. Heavy metals content ( in organic and humus horizons in SNP
Zn Fe Mn Cu
Ol Ofh AOl Ofh AOl Ofh AOl Ofh A
Average 68.9±19.0 47.0±15.4 2.9±1.1 469±505 1609±2161 346±120 206.2±113 40.0±23 4.2±2.1 0.80±0.14 0.90±0.29 0.09±0.03
Minimum 37.1 24.2 1.3 118 478 124 48.7 12.2 1.2 0.50 0.60 0.06
Maximum 101.0 82.0 5.7 2071 8517 568 415.0 86.2 8.3 1.10 1.70 0.19
Median 65.5 42.7 2.7 279 907 381.1 198.9 37.4 3.7 0.8 0.9 0.08
CV [%] 28 33 38 108 134 35 55 58 52 18 31 35
Figure 2. The heavy metal content in the leaves, stems and roots of Vaccinium myrtillus in SPN, point (mean), rectangle (standard
deviation), whiskers (minimum – maximum)
amounts were observed in the shoots of bilberry growing
within the research sites located in the central areas of the
Park – those in parking lot vicinity. The concentration of
zinc showed the highest values of CV for bilberry roots
(51.3%), and the lowest for the stems (29.3 %). Plants up-
take Zn in the amounts proportional to its concentration
in soil. Several studies showed that the content of zinc in
V. myrtillus growing on non-contaminated areas regularly
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amounted to approximately 16.8 (Mróz, Demczuk
2010) or else 20.0 (Kozanecka et al. 2002). The
content of zinc in the shoots of bilberry growing on contam-
inated areas is usually higher and amounts to 24.4
1 (Pająk, Jasik 2012) or even to 107.8 (Gworek,
Degórski 2000). Leaf Zn concentration ranging from 15 to
30 usually assures the fullment of physiological
requirements of the majority of plants. The present study
carried out within the territory of the Słowiński National
Park shows that Zn is accumulated in higher amounts in
bilberry stems when compared with the leaves, which is in
line with the results obtained by Kozanecka et al. (2002).
Similar to deciduous trees loosing leaves in the fall, bil-
berry low-growing shrubs accumulate larger amounts of
nutrients in their stems and roots when compared with the
leaves (Moszyńska 1983; Gugnacka-Fiedor 1994). Low
Zn concentration in bilberry shoots reects low amounts of
this element in podzolic soils of the Park, which is derived
from poor dune sands (Tobolski et al. 1997) as well as the
fact that the plants grow under conditions of relatively
clean atmosphere (Brożek, Zarembski 2011)
The concentration of iron in V. myrtillus also showed
variation depending on the research site and plant part. Leaf
Fe concentration was from 57.0 to 182.0 mg.kg1, whereas
in the stems it was from 47.0 to 344.0 mg kg-1, and in the
roots from 50.0 to 1019.0 mg kg-1 (Fig. 2). The highest Fe
content was observed at the research sites situated in vicini-
ty of parking lots. Coefcients of variation of Fe concentra-
tion were from 22.4% for bilberry leaves to 120.2% for the
roots. The highest Fe concentrations were observed in the
underground shoots. Similar Fe content in bilberry shoots
was found by Mróz and Demczuk (2010) 120.0–217.0
mg kg-1, and Gworek and Degórski (2000) 95.0–104.0
mg kg-1. In some bilberry samples collected in SNP, there
was observed an increased content of Fe, which can indi-
cate advanced ability to accumulate iron in this plant spe-
cies. Strongly acidic soil environment in the Park (Table 1)
enhances the availability of heavy metals to plants. Accord-
ing to Bylińska (1992), V. myrtillus has superior capability
to accumulate iron. Within the areas free of contamination,
Fe content is usually 74 mg kg-1 in bilberry leaves and 62
mg kg-1 in the stems (Kozanecka et al. 2002).
The content of copper in bilberry shoots indicated con-
siderable differentiation among the research sites and was
from 0.5 to 3.0 mg kg-1 in the leaves, from 0.6 to 2.8
1 in the stems and from 0.6 to 1.9 in the roots. Co-
efcients of variation of Cu concentration in V. myrtillus
were on average from 32.0% in the roots to 49.5% in the
leaves (Fig. 2). Plant copper shows low mobility and the
amount of approximately 2 is sufcient to cover
physiological needs of the majority of plants. The con-
tent of copper in plants is usually below 4–5 and
considerably varies depending on plant part, developmen-
tal stage as well as plant species and variety. Average Cu
content in the aboveground parts of plants is 5–20
(Kabata-Pendias, Pendias 1999). The results of chemical
analyses of V. myrtillus shoots carried out by Gworek and
Degórski (2000) in several locations in Poland indicate that
depending on contamination degree, the concentration of
Cu can be from 0.5 to 8.1 Earlier chemical studies
on V. myrtillus aboveground shoots carried out in the fresh
pine forests within the Słowinski National Park showed
Cu concentration 3.1 (Parzych et al. 2012). The
content of Cu in bilberry plants from the Park is low and
not threatening – in contrast, it is sufcient for covering V.
myrtilus physiological needs.
Fairly different status was observed for manganese con-
tents. These were from 529.2 to 1736.0 in bilberry
leaves, from 658.0 to 2182.0 in the stems and from
105.9 to 746.3 in the roots (Fig. 2). The concen-
tration of Mn indicated related variation – from 34.9 to
35.3%, regardless of the part of plant analysed. According
to Kabata-Pendias and Pendias (1999), plant requirements
for manganese are much differentiated, but in most cases
the amount of 10–25 is sufcient. The concentra-
tion of about 500 can be toxic for the majority of
plants. The results obtained in this study indicate excessive
accumulation of manganese in V. myrtillus shoots. Rei-
mann et al. (2001) as well as Bylińska (1992) noted that
bilberry plants were distinctive of high contents of Mn,
apart from those observed in soil. Boyd (2007) described
this low-growing shrub as manganese accumulator in view
of the fact that the concentration of manganese in bilberry
tissues can be even above 2000 The results of re-
search reported by Gworek and Degórski (2000) indicated
that V. myrtillus could accumulate in its tissues even 2489.0, which proves the large capability of this species to
accumulate manganese.
The relationships among heavy metals determined
both in the aboveground and underground parts of V.
myrtillus showed the following decreasing order: Mn >
Fe > Zn > Cu.
The analyses carried out revealed statistically signif-
icant Spearman’s correlation coefcients for bilberry
zinc content in the relationship soil – stems (r = -0.44,
p < 0.05, n = 45) as well as soil roots (r = -0.52, p <
0.05, n = 45). The decrease of zinc content in soil was
accompanied by the increase of Zn content in V. myrtil-
lus stems and roots, which is conrmed by the uptake
of high amounts of this element from the soil solution
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(Table 3). Other heavy metals tested (Fe, Cu, Mn) did not
show statistically signicant relationships between their
concentrations in soil and those in billberry shoots, which
can indicate leaf uptake of these elements from either pre-
cipitation or atmospheric particulate matter settling to the
ground (Łaszewska et al. 2007).
Low contents of Zn, Fe and Cu in the above- and
underground V. myrtillus shoots as well as in surface
soil layers are well reected by the low values of en-
richment factors (EF). The highest EF values were ob-
tained for Mn (EF > 20), which conrms its tendency
to elevated accumulation in plants (Fig. 3), and the
lowest for copper (Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu). The results
obtained in the National Słowiński Park indicate that
zinc and manganese are accumulated to the largest ex-
tent in V. myrtillus stems, whereas copper in the leaves
and iron in the roots. According to Kłos (2009), EF
values >10 can indicate the inux of exterior pollution,
for example, with dry and wet precipitation. However,
heavy metal inux is in general relatively small. The
results of the study on particulate matter carried out in
2010 within the area of the Słowiński National Park
Table 3. Spearman correlation coefcients (r) of heavy metals
in the shoots V. myrtillus relative to ‘soil – leaves’, ‘soil
stems’, ‘soil – roots’ (n = 45, p < 0.05, rcryt. = 0.30)
r in relation Fe Mn Zn Cu
soil – leaves 0.17 0.25 -0.28 0.20
soil – stems 0.01 0.27 -0.44 -0.21
soil – roots 0. 25 -0.06 -0.52 -0.01
Figure 3. Enrichment factors (EF) investigated metals in the leaves, stems and roots of V. myrtillus, point (mean), rectangle
(standard deviation), whiskers (minimum – maximum)
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A. Parzych / Leśne Prace Badawcze, 2014, Vol. 75 (3): 217
showed PM10 content 17 μg/m3 (Brożek, Zarembski
2011), and this did not exceed the threshold value. SNP
area has been considered by many researchers as one
of the cleanest in Poland. Among others, this is con-
rmed by chemical studies on forest bioindicative ora
(Grodzińska et al. 1990, 1999; Bykowszczenko et al.
2006; Parzych et al. 2012; Parzych, Sobisz 2012).
Comparative analyses of heavy metal concentrations
in the above- and underground shoots of bilberry V. myr-
tillus were performed using the Mann–Whitney U-test
(Table 4). The results obtained showed statistically signif-
icant differences in zinc content in the relationship stems
– root and leaves – stems as well as manganese content
in the relationship stems – roots and leaves – roots No
signicant differences were found for Fe and Cu concen-
trations in bilberry above- and underground shoots.
4. Conclusions
In the above- and underground shoots of bilberry V.
myrtillus growing on the territory of the Słowinski Nation-
al Park located within the Łebska Spit, there were found
varied contents of Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu depending on re-
search site localisation and the part of plant. The highest
amounts of the heavy metals tested were found in the sites
in vicinity of parking lots, which tells on the role of road
trafc in point contamination of the Park. The metals in-
vestigated were accumulated in V. myrtillus shoots to dif-
ferent extents. The highest amounts of copper were found
in bilberry leaves, those of iron – in the roots, and those
of zinc and manganese were observed in the stems. The
relationships among heavy metals determined both in the
aboveground and underground parts of V. myrtillus showed
the following decreasing order: Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu.
Small contents of Zn, Fe and Cu in bilberry shoots as
well as in the surface horizons of soil translate into the
low enrichment factor (EF) values obtained in this study.
Strongly acidic soil environment enhanced the bioavail-
ability of the heavy metals tested to bilberry shoots. The
highest EF values were obtained for Mn and Fe, which is
a sign of greater accumulation ability of V. myrtillus as for
these elements, despite their low contents in soil.
The analyses carried out showed statistically signi-
cant differences in Zn content in the relationships leaves
– stems and stems – roots as well as in Mn content in the
relationship stems – roots and leaves – roots. No signicant
differences were found for Fe and Cu concentration in the
above- and underground shoots of bilberry V. Myrtillus.
The study was carried out in the year 2011 in a frame-
work of the statutory research grant of the Department of
Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Biology and En-
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Table 4. The signicance of variation of heavy metals concentra-
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Metal Relations
leaves – stems stems – roots leaves – roots
Zn ** *** ns
Fe ns nsns
Cu ns nsns
Mn ns *** ***
The signicance level: ***p < 0.001, *p <0.05, ns – no differences
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Translated by: Bożena Kornatowska
Download Date | 9/24/15 11:11 PM
... Data regarding the metal content of bilberries have been published in many papers [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. Generally, the main source of metals in plants is their growth media (e.g. ...
... The presence of major and trace metals (i.e. elements) in bilberries has been reported in a number of previous studies [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. Differences in the metal content of plant tissues in different countries might be dependent on metal availability in soil as well as on plant species, growth stage and morphological features [9]. ...
... The presence of major and trace metals (i.e. elements) in bilberries has been reported in a number of previous studies [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. Differences in the metal content of plant tissues in different countries might be dependent on metal availability in soil as well as on plant species, growth stage and morphological features [9]. In addition, the accumulation might depend on seasonal variation [7]. ...
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Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L., Ericaceae) is a rich source of different mineral elements that are important as essential trace elements, or that can be potentially toxic, depending on their concentration. The contents of sixteen elements: the major (Al, Ca, Fe, K and Mg) and trace elements (As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr and Zn) in roots, stems, leaves and fruits of bilberry and the corresponding soil substrate were determined in order to investigate element mobility and availability in soil. Soil was subjected to sequential extraction procedure as proposed by the Community Bureau of Reference in order to fractionate acid-soluble/exchangeable, reducible, oxidizable and residual fractions. Analysis of water and ethanol extracts of bilberry aerial parts revealed a significant transfer of elements during the extraction procedure, with corresponding extraction coefficient values of up to 95.12%. Results showed that bilberry fruits could serve as a good dietary source of essential elements for humans, especially Mn and Cu.
... The major reason for the interest in V. myrtillus L. and V. vitis-idaea L. is that they can serve as model species of the forest floor of boreal forests, differing in their life strategies (Taulavuori et al. 2013). Bilberry is a deciduous species as it sheds its leaves during autumnal preparation for winter, whereas lingonberry, an evergreen species, retains its leaves for many years (Taulavuori et al. 2013;Parzych 2014). Because of these differences it is interesting to study whether or not these species vary in responses to any stress, including heavy metals stress. ...
... Average Fe concentration in both plants at all investigated sites oscillated around the reference value according by Markert (1992)-150 mg kg −1 . These results were similar to those given by Parzych (2014) for bilberry shoots from the Słowiński National Park and by Mróz and Demczuk (2010) in V. myrtillus shoots from a copper smelter area. Also Nadgórska-Socha et al. (2016) reported similar Fe contents in Robinia pseudoacacia and Melandrium album leaves from the same investigated areas. ...
... Mróz and Demczuk (2010) suggested that V. myrtillus is an accumulator of Mn and its high concentrations suggest a possibility that bilberry uses Mn for some beneficial purposes. Many other authors also mentioned the large capability of bilberry to accumulate Mn (Reimann et al. 2001;Kozanecka et al. 2002;Salemaa et al. 2004;Boyd 2007;Mróz and Demczuk 2010;Kandziora-Ciupa et al. 2013;Parzych 2014). Reeves and Baker (2000) included V. myrtillus as manganese hyperaccumulator. ...
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The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Fe, and Mn) in soil, and their bioavailability and bioaccumulation in Vaccinium myrtillus L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. organs. Analysis also concerned the physiological responses of these plants from three polluted sites (immediate vicinity of a zinc smelter in Miasteczko Śląskie, ArcelorMittal Poland S.A. iron smelter in Dąbrowa Górnicza-Łosień, and Jaworzno III power plant in Jaworzno) and one pseudo-control site (Pazurek nature reserve in Jaroszowiec Olkuski). All of the sites are situated in the southern parts of Poland in the Śląskie or Małopolskie provinces. The contents of proline, non-protein thiols, glutathione, ascorbic acid, and the activity of superoxide dismutase and guaiacol peroxidase in the leaves of Vaccinium myrtillus L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. were measured. In soil, the highest levels of Cd, Pb, and Zn (HNO3 extracted and CaCl2 extracted) were detected at the Miasteczko Śląskie site. At all sites a several times lower concentration of the examined metals was determined in the fraction of soil extracted with CaCl2. Much higher Cd, Pb, Zn and Fe concentrations were found in V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea grown at the most polluted site (located near the zinc smelter) in comparison with cleaner areas; definitely higher bioaccumulation of these metals was found in lingonberry organs. Additionally, we observed a large capability of bilberry to accumulate Mn. Antioxidant response to heavy metal stress also differed between V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea. In V. myrtillus we found a positive correlation between the level of non-protein thiols and Cd and Zn concentrations, and also between proline and these metals. In V. vitis-idaea leaves an upward trend in ascorbic acid content and superoxide dismutase activity accompanied an increase in Cd, Pb, and Zn concentrations. At the same time, the increased levels of all tested metals in the leaves of V. vitis-idaea were accompanied by a decreased activity of guaiacol peroxidase. In both species increased Mn accumulation caused a decrease in antioxidant response.
... Some of Carex species have been used as biomonitors with good metal accumulation ability (Husson et al. 2014;Marchand et al. 2014;Ladislas et al. 2015). V. myrtillus is relatively tolerant to many environmental stresses including elevated levels of metals (Kandziora-Ciupa et al. 2013;Taulavuori et al. 2013;Parzych, 2014). ...
... This is in agreement with Taulavuori et al. (2013), who stated that V. myrtillus is usually recognised as relatively tolerant to the stress caused by elevated metal levels. In addition, Parzych (2014) reported an excessive concentration of Mn in V. myrtillus collected in the Słowiński National Park, indicating that this species is a good accumulator of Mn even in clean sites. V. myrtillus can also accumulate Al in shoot biomass in noncontaminated ecosystems, as it usually grows on acidic soils where Al is highly available (Czapińska 2012). ...
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Calluna vulgaris, Carex rigida, Deschampsia flexuosa, Nardus stricta and Vaccinium myrtillus are abundant in the vegetation of mountainous areas in Northern and Central Europe. Knowledge of their ability to accumulate increased amounts of metals could be useful in the evaluation of environmental pollution in the alpine tundra of high mountains. Additionally, this investigation may contribute to understanding the rate and direction of recent vegetation change in Karkonosze and similar types of environments. Our investigation revealed that Carex rigida, C. vulgaris and V. myrtillus contain excessive Mn concentrations in shoots with the highest BF for this element compared to the BFs of other elements. C. rigida, with Cu, Mn and Zn concentrations exceeding the toxicity thresholds for plants, seems to be the best metal phytoaccumulator for Nardus stricta grasslands Carici (rigidae)-Nardetum (CrN) and alpine heathlands Carici (rigidae)-Festucetum airoidis (CrFa) associations in the Karkonosze. Based on relevant BFs >1, it can be stated that the following plant available metals were transferred to shoots: Cu, Mn and Ni by C. vulgaris; Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni and Zn by C. rigida; Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni and Zn by D. flexuosa; Cu, Mn, Ni and Zn by N. stricta and Cu, Mn and Zn by V. myrtillus.
... While the most typical toxic Cu-Ni smelter pollutants (As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb) show increased organic soil concentrations near the smelter Ruiz et al., 2017), Ca and Mn levels have decreased due to displacement of these elements by excessive amounts of Cu and Ni (Derome and Lindroos, 1998;Uhlig and Junttila, 2001;Mr oz and Demczuk, 2010). In general, Mn levels in leaves were relatively high, as this element is known to efficiently accumulate in shoots of V. myrtillus (Parzych, 2014;Kandziora-Ciupa et al., 2017;Wojtun et al., 2017). On the other hand, soil Zn levels are relatively high near the smelter but this pattern was not reflected in V. myrtillus leaves, probably because Zn homeostasis is relatively well regulated within plants (Gjengedal and Steinnes, 1994;Derome and Lindroos, 1998). ...
Ericaceous dwarf shrubs, such as bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, have an important role in nutrient cycling of boreal forests, but in metal polluted environments they also form a link between heavy metal pool of the soil, primary consumers and upper trophic levels. From the viewpoint of metal transfer in a food chain, we document metallic element (As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Se, Zn) concentrations in leaves, berries and herbivorous larvae of V. myrtillus around a Finnish copper-nickel smelter and compare those with levels in relatively unpolluted reference sites, and with levels documented in soil and feces (a proxy of dietary levels) of an insectivorous bird, the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca. Herbivorous larvae of the autumnal moth, Epirrita autumnata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), grown experimentally on V. myrtillus, showed slower growth rate but not higher mortality in the polluted area. In general, metal levels in leaves, berries and larvae were higher in the polluted area and comparable to those reported at other smelter sites in Europe. The levels of the main toxic metals (As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb) followed the general pattern: soil > bird feces > leaves > larvae = berries, and levels in V. myrtillus, E. autumnata and F. hypoleuca reflected soil metal levels. The lowest levels were found in those matrices that are most important sources of food for birds and humans, i.e. leaf-eating larvae and berries, reducing a risk of toxic effects.
... Bilberry was studied (Parzych 2016(Parzych , 2014) on strongly acidic sites with a total manganese content in the soil of 206 ± 113 mg kg −1 (L horizon), 40 ± 23 mg kg −1 (F+H horizon), and 4.2 ± 2.1 mg kg −1 (Ah horizon). The values correspond to the natural background and are much lower as compared with those detected on the site studied by us (Table 1). ...
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In a specific area of the Krušné Hory Mts. (Ore Mountains), Czech Republic, branches and leaves of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) were collected during the growing seasons in 2010–2016 on the low-pH soil (2.77–3.62) with a high total content of manganese (490–6277 mg kg⁻¹ dwt.). Mn content in leaves occurred in a wide range (274–11,159 mg kg⁻¹) and was markedly increased during the growing season with the exception of year 2015, when the leaves dried out early due to the precipitation deficit. New leaves exhibited the Mn content corresponding to the beginning of the growing season. Mn content in branches was comparable both in the years of collection (including 2015) and in the respective growing seasons (2062–3885 mg kg⁻¹). The content of manganese in bilberry leaves was dependent on the cumulated amount of precipitation (p < 10⁻⁶; r² = 0.4962) and on the cumulated amount of water in the soil captured in lysimeters (p = 0.00003; r² = 0.4520). Hyperaccumulation of manganese in bilberry was confirmed as well as its continuous increase during the vegetation seasons. The manganese content in leaves of bilberry showed positive correlation with soil moisture. For the assessment of bilberry condition (nutrition), the collection of samples should be made towards the end of the growing season, closely before the onset of senescence.
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Trace metal(loid)s Pollution assessment Source apportionment Health risk assessment National park a b s t r a c t Nowadays, more people tend to spend their recreational time in large national parks, and trace metal(loid)s in soils have attracted long-term attention due to their possible harm to human health. To investigate the pollution levels, potential sources and health risks of trace metal(loid)s in road soils, a total of eight trace metal(loid)s (including As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn and Hg) from 47 soil samples along roads were studied in the Huangshan National Park in Southeast China. The results showed that the concentrations of As, Cd, Pb, Zn and Hg appeared different degrees of pollution compared with their corresponding background values. According to the pollution indices, Hg and Cd were recognized as significant pollutants presenting moderate to high ecological risk. Combining principal component analysis and positive matrix factorization model, the results showed that traffic, industrial, agricultural and natural sources were the potential origins of trace metal(loid)s in this area, with contribution rates of 39.93%, 25.92%, 10.53% and 23.62%, respectively. Non-carcinogenic risks were all negligible, while the carcinogenic risk of As was higher than the limit (1 × 10 −6). Moreover , children were more susceptible to trace metal(loid)s by ingestion which appeared to be a more important exposure pathway than dermal contact and inhalation. The contribution rates of different sources to non-carcinogenic risks and carcinogenic risks were similar among children and adults, while traffic and industrial sources have a significant impact on health risks. This study will give more insights to control the environmental risks of trace metal(loid)s in national parks.
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Concentration of zinc, cadmium and lead in the fruits of bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus L.) growing in the Świerklaniec Forest District The research was conducted in the Brynica forests in the Świerklaniec Forest District, located in the immediate vicinity of the Miasteczko Śląskie Zinc Plant (HCMŚ). In autumn 2008, 31 research plots were established in the research area on a regular 1500×1500m grid (fig. 1). The research plots were located northeast and east of the emitter, towards the prevailing winds. Samples from the litter layer (Olfh), soil (0−20 cm) and bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus L.) fruits were taken from each plot. Heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cd) were detected in the collected material using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer Varian AA 20. The performed analysis showed significant contamination of the forest environment by heavy metals (tab. 1−3, fig. 2−4). Content of lead in the fruits of bilberry growing in the forests of the Świerklaniec Forest District were found to exceed the admissible limit even 50 times (fig. 5) and of cadmium – 20 times, which according to the regulations of the Ministry of Health may pose a threat to consumers.
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This paper presents the results of study on heavy metals in soil and in herbaceous plants in selected pine forests in Słowiński National Park. The heavy metals, such as Zn, Cu, Mn and Fe were studied. Concentrations of zinc in tested soil are strongly and very strongly related to manganese and copper content (r = 0.57 do r = 0.98, p < 0.05). Moreover, the soil moistening has vital impact on copper content in the plants of the ground cover. It was also found that moss in comparison to other forest plants captures higher volume of zinc and copper. The content of the above mentioned metals in the plants of dry coniferous forests (Bs), fresh coniferous forests (Bśw) and humid coniferous forests (Bw) of the ground cover constitute the following decreasing series: Mn(438.1) > Fe(98.6) > Zn(35.2) > Cu(3.5).
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The aim of this study was to (i) determine environmental pollution in Słowiński National Park on the basis of Zn, Fe, Ni, Cd and Cr concentrations in Pleurozium schreberi gametophores, (ii) draw a map of heavy metal concentrations in the area and (iii) compare the results with previous reports. Samples of Pleurozium schreberi were collected from 27 locations in Słowiński National Park in 2002. Cd concentra-tion was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS), and Zn, Fe, Ni and Cr concentrations were determined using neutron activation analysis. The results of our research suggest a reduction of heavy metal contamination in the area of Słowiński National Park over the last 27 years and confirmed that the area is one of the cleanest in Poland and may still serve as a reference background for determining pollution in other areas.
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Fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) air pollution is one of the main environmental health problems in developed Countries. According to modeling estimates the PM(2.5) concentrations in Poland are among the highest in Europe. In this article we focus on exposure assessment and estimation of adverse health effects due to PM(2.5) air pollution. This article consists of two parts. In the first part, we discuss the main methods used to estimate emission-exposure relationships and adverse health effects due to PM(2.5) air pollution. In the second part, we present all assessment framework for Poland. We illustrate this framework by estimating the premature deaths and change in life expectancy in Poland caused by anthropogenic, primary PM(2.5) emissions from different European countries. and, in proportion, the premature deaths in different European Countries Caused by primary PM(2.5) emissions from Poland. The PM(2.5) emission were evaluated using the inventory of the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP). The emission-exposure relationships were based on the previously published study and the exposure-response functions for PM(2.5) air pollution were estimated in expert elicitation study performed for six European experts on air pollution health effects. Based on the assessment, the anthropogenic primary PM(2.5) from the whole of Europe is estimated to cause several thousands of premature deaths in Poland, annually. These premature deaths are both due to PM(2.5) emissions front Poland and transportation of PM(2.5) from other European Countries, both of these in almost equal parts. The framework presented in this article will be developed in the near future to a full scale integrated assessment, that takes into account both gaseous and PM air pollution.
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The purpose of this study was to explore a possible relationship between the availability of metals in soil (Cd, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn) and their concentrations in leaves of Vaccinium myrtillus L. as a species which has been reported to be a successful colonist of acid-and-heavy metal-contaminated soil. Analysis also concerned the antioxidant response of plants from three heavily polluted (immediate vicinity of: zinc smelter, iron smelter and power plant) and three relatively clean sites (nature reserve, ecological site and unprotected natural forest community) in southern Poland. The contents of glutathione, non-protein thiols, protein, proline and activity of guaiacol peroxidase in leaves of bilberry were measured. Generally, the concentrations of metals in the HNO(3) and CaCl(2) extracants of the soil from the polluted sites were higher. Moreover, the antioxidant responses were also elevated in bilberries in the polluted sites. Significant positive relationships between Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations in soil and in the plants were found. In the leaves of V. myrtillus from the polluted sites, higher concentrations of Cd, Pb and Zn were noted (In Miasteczko Śląskie respectively 6.26, 157.09 and 207.17 mg kg(-1) d.w.). We found a positive correlation between the increase in the NPTs and protein contents as well as the Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations in V. myrtillus. Cd, Pb and Zn also decreased guaiacol peroxidase activity. However, the activity of this enzyme increased under Fe. A decreasing trend in glutathione contents was observed with increasing iron and manganese concentrations in bilberry leaves. Parameters such as protein, non-protein -SH groups and changes in GPX activity seem to be universal, sensitive and correlated well with heavy metal stress.
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In this paper the content of Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr and Cd was studied in forest floor plants of Puszcza Biala Forest. Test plants used were lichens, mosses, club-mosses, ferns, convallaria, and bilberries. Puszcza Biala Forest belongs to a region free from pollution by heavy metals. Higher content of manganese, as compared with iron, was found in the following plants: Cladonia clavatum (wolfs claw), Dryopteris filix-mas (shield fern), Convalaria maialis (convallaria), and Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry). In lichens and mosses the proportion was the opposite: they contained more iron than manganese. The stated concentra-tion of Zn, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr and Cd was very little differentiated considering particular plant species of forest floor. And those were appreciated at the natural level, typical for the unpolluted area of Poland.
Concentrations of the elements N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, S, Fe, Mn, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn were measured in the leaves of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) and the soil in which it grew. Concentration of total phenolics in bilberry leaves was also determined. Soil and leaves were sampled at polluted site situated 10-13 km northeast of copper smelter at Głogów (SW Poland) and at a relatively clean site. Soil at the vicinity of the Cu-smelter contained significantly more Cu, Pb, Cd, S, and significantly less Mn, Zn, Fe, Co, Ni than the non-polluted soil. Bilberry leaves from polluted site contained significantly higher concentrations of Cu, Pb, Cd, S, Fe and Cr and significantly lower concentrations of Mn and Zn. Furthermore, they had significantly higher level of total phenolics as compared with bilberry leaves from non-polluted site. Stepwise regression analysis enabled the identification of the leaf variables that best explain the variance pattern of the total foliar phenolics. This method indicated that the level of total phenolics in bilberry leaves increased with increasing concentrations of Cu, Pb, Cd and S, and decreasing level of Mn and Zn in leaves. Total foliar phenolics in bilberry in the investigated area might be a suitable indicator of stress caused by environmental pollution of heavy metal and sulfur.
The growth parameters of the Vaccinium myrtillus shoots were studied on a vertical transect crossing localities "Murán" (1080-1110 m a.s.l., skeli-humic podzols, Fageta abietino-piceosa) and "Hliní ky" (950-960 m a.s.l, dystric cambisols, Abieti-Fageta inferiora) in the protected zone of the National park "Slovenský raj" (Spiš region, East Slovakia). In the localities, both contaminated by air pollution research plots in undamaged and damaged (with lower stand density and canopy compactness) spruce ecosystems were established. The content of Al and Cr was significantly higher in cambisols, and that of Cd - in podzols. The limit values calculated for both soils have been exceeded only in case of mercury. The Al content in bilberry twigs exceeded the background values (by 44-76%) in case of the both plots situated on locality "Murán", and that of Ni and Pb concentrations (by 3-60%) only on damaged plot. The mean content of Ni and Pb was significantly higher in bilberry twigs growing on podzols and the mean content of Al was significantly higher in plants on undamaged plots. The mean length, weight as well as energy content of bilberry twigs were significantly higher in damaged spruce plots (on average by 33%), probably due to favourable light conditions.
The use of accumulation bioindicator to assess metal bioavailability has mainly concerned individual species. This work addresses this issue at the plant community level. Metal content within different species from plant communities found at three contaminated and one uncontaminated site was compared. Results showed that for two contaminated sites, leaf metals concentrations were comparable to those in plants from control site, i.e. approx (mg/kg) 0.1 Cd, 0.2 Cr, 9.2 Cu, 1.8 Ni, 0.5 Pb and 42 Zn. Only plants from the third site showed higher metal contents, ranging from 1.5- to 8-fold those of the control community. This contrasted with ammonium acetate-EDTA extractions, which indicated a very high "availability" of metals at the three sites, as compared to the control site. Thus, metal content in plant communities provided accurate information on actual transfer toward the ensemble of vegetation, which could be used to establish site-specific "fingerprints" of metal bioavailability.
Net primary production (NPP) of two Vaccinium species (V. myrtillus and V. uliginosum) was determined in three subalpine heath communities on the Northern Apennines (N. Italy). The main objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that two species sharing the same plant functional type (deciduous dwarf shrub) have similar growth performances along environmental gradients. The second objective was to assess whether, and to what extent, NPP of the two species was associated with functional and morphological traits, which can affect plant growth in relation to nutrient status. Total community NPP in the three communities was closely related to soil nutrient availability. NPP of V. uliginosum did not vary among communities, while that of V. myrtillus peaked in the most fertile habitat. The N:P ratio in the whole plant as well as in the leaves of the two shrubs exactly mirrored the among-community pattern in soil phosphate concentration. In particular, the foliar N:P ratio in both V. uliginosum and V. myrtillus was >16 in the poorer sites, which indicates P limitation. I concluded that the growth response of the two shrubs in relation to soil nutrient availability is individualistic. Growth of V. myrtillus is P-limited while that of V. uliginosum is not.