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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


ORTIZ-CALDERON, CLAUDIA; ALCAIDE, ÓSCAR  and  LI KAO, JULIA. Copper distribution in leaves and roots of plants growing on a copper mine-tailing storage facility in northern Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2008, vol.81, n.4, pp.489-499. ISSN 0716-078X.

In a copper mine-tailing afforested we characterized the physicochemical properties of the substrate at vegetated and non-vegetated patches. We studied the accumulation of copper in roots and leaves of the species present at the site, to evaluate their phytoextraction and/or phytostabilization potential. The non-vegetated mine-tailing substrate showed a high contení of metals, mainly copper (> 2.5 g kg-1), a pH 7.4, high contení of salts and 5.0 % organic matler. Vegelaled palches al íhe lailing showed similar characlerislics of pH, salís and organic maller conlenl, and showed a lolal copper concenlralion lower íhan íhe conlenl found ai íhe non-vegelaled patches. Nine plant species present at the site were screened for copper accumulation and distribulion in rools and leaves, and polenlial for copper phyloexlraclion or phyloslabilizalion was suggesled. The nalive species Schinus polygamus and Atriplex deserticola, accumulaled over 1.2 g kg-1 copper in íheir leaves, showing íhal íhey are pseudomelallophyles for íhe melal. Five of íhe nine plañí species sludied were considered suilable for phyloexlraclion procedures and four were apt for phytostabilization of copper polluted sites. By making a screening of species growing on a copper polluted site, we were able to select plants adapted lo semi-arid environmental conditions and suitable for mine-tailings remediation purposes.

Keywords : copper; phytoextraction; phytostabilisation; remediation; native plants.

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