Accumulation of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Pine Needles (Pinus nigra) in Vienna (Austria).
ABSTRACT: Increasing heavy metal pollution in the environment and the fact that pine needles are good bio-monitors for air pollutants was the reason to investigate their accumulation in pine needles in Vienna (Austria). Pinus nigra is widespread over the city, thus allowing the study of different parameters influencing metal accumulation. The sampling sites were chosen based on traffic volume (low, medium, high). Fresh shoots were collected alongside one-year-old needles once per week from May to August 2015. The needle samples were washed and dried prior to acidic microwave-assisted digestion followed by quantitative determination using spectrometric methods. The investigation was focused on the following elements: Ag, Al, As, B, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr, U, V, and Zn. The one-year-old needles mainly contained higher contents of elements than fresh shoots; in many cases, the values differed statistically significantly. By correlating needle elemental contents with the sampling site, statistically significant differences were registered for the majority of the investigated elements. These differences originate from the local traffic situation, soil elemental levels, translocation processes, and not traffic-related sources. No general trend of metal accumulation from spring to summer was registered.
Project description:Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) shoots from mature trees were collected from two sites of contrasting soil pH: the Glendon campus of York University in Toronto, Ontario (pH 6.7 at 40 cm); and Muskoka near Huntsville, Ontario (pH 4.2 at 40 cm). Needles of ages 1-3 years were removed from the shoots, and the percentage of ash and silica was determined for all ages. Other needles were frozen in liquid nitrogen and kept in a cryo-biological storage system before x-ray microanalysis. Percentages of ash and silica were higher in the needles from Muskoka. Ash and silica increased with needle age for trees from the Muskoka site, but less so at the Toronto site. Of the 13 elements (Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu and Zn) detected by microanalysis, Mn, Fe, Cu and Zn were detected in small amounts in the epidermis, endodermis and transfusion tissue (the layer of tracheids and parenchyma immediately surrounding the vascular bundles), and K, P, S and Cl were almost ubiquitous in distribution. Sodium was occasionally detected in the transfusion tissue, and magnesium was concentrated in the endodermal cells. The epidermal walls, transfusion tissue and endodermis were major sites of calcium localization. Silicon was concentrated in the extreme tips of the needles in all tissues, but particularly in the transfusion tissue, and more so in the Muskoka samples. Microanalysis revealed a higher Al content in the Muskoka needles, that Al was concentrated in the needle tips and that the transfusion tissues were major sites of accumulation.
Project description:Aleppo pine (<i>Pinus halepensis</i>) is widely distributed in the Mediterranean region and in other areas of the world, where it has been introduced due to its adaptive capacity to xerothermic conditions. The giant pine scale <i>Marchalina hellenica</i> often infests Aleppo pine, as well as other pines, in several southeastern European countries, causing pine declines. When combined with the expected intensified heat and drought events in eastern Mediterranean, the impact of this biotic parameter on the host pines may be exacerbated. The importance of understanding the defense mechanisms of Aleppo pine is emphasized by the recent invasion of the pine scale in new regions, like Australia, lacking the insect's natural enemies, where more intense negative effects on pine species may occur. To date, Aleppo pine's physiological responses to the infestation by <i>M. hellenica</i> are largely unknown. This study aimed at assessing the responses of Aleppo pine to the giant pine scale attack, both on an ecophysiological and a metabolic level. For this purpose, gas exchange, needle water status, and carbon and nitrogen content were measured during 1 year on healthy and infested adult trees. M etabolic profiling of Aleppo pine needles was also performed before, during, and after the high feeding activity of the insect. The maintenance of stable relative water content, ?<sup>13</sup>C signatures, and chlorophyll fluorescence in the needles of infested pines indicated that infestation did not induce drought stress to the host pines. At the peak of infestation, stomatal closure and a pronounced reduction in assimilation were observed and were associated with the accumulation of sugars in the needles, probably due to impaired phloem loading. At the end of the infestation period, tricarboxylic acids were induced and phenolic compounds were enhanced in the needles of infested pines. These metabolic responses, together with the recovery of photosynthesis after the end of <i>M. hellenica</i> intense feeding, indicate that in the studied region and under the current climate, Aleppo pine is resilient to the infestation by the giant pine scale. Future research should assess whether these promising defense mechanisms are also employed by other host pines, particularly in regions of the world recently invaded by the giant pine scale, as well as under more xerothermic regimes.
Project description:Despite being one of the most consumed vegetables in the United States, the elemental profile of sweet corn (Zea mays L.) is limited in its dietary contributions. To address this through genetic improvement, a genome-wide association study was conducted for the concentrations of 15 elements in fresh kernels of a sweet corn association panel. In concordance with mapping results from mature maize kernels, we detected a probable pleiotropic association of zinc and iron concentrations with nicotianamine synthase5 (nas5), which purportedly encodes an enzyme involved in synthesis of the metal chelator nicotianamine. In addition, a pervasive association signal was identified for cadmium concentration within a recombination suppressed region on chromosome 2. The likely causal gene underlying this signal was heavy metal ATPase3 (hma3), whose counterpart in rice, OsHMA3, mediates vacuolar sequestration of cadmium and zinc in roots, whereby regulating zinc homeostasis and cadmium accumulation in grains. In our association panel, hma3 associated with cadmium but not zinc accumulation in fresh kernels. This finding implies that selection for low cadmium will not affect zinc levels in fresh kernels. Although less resolved association signals were detected for boron, nickel, and calcium, all 15 elements were shown to have moderate predictive abilities via whole-genome prediction. Collectively, these results help enhance our genomics-assisted breeding efforts centered on improving the elemental profile of fresh sweet corn kernels.
Project description:Many plant tissues fluoresce due to the natural fluorophores present in cell walls or within the cell protoplast or lumen. While lignin and chlorophyll are well-known fluorophores, other components are less well characterized. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of fresh or fixed vibratome-cut sections of radiata pine needles revealed the presence of suberin, lignin, ferulate, and flavonoids associated with cell walls as well as several different extractive components and chlorophyll within tissues. Comparison of needles in different physiological states demonstrated the loss of chlorophyll in both chlorotic and necrotic needles. Necrotic needles showed a dramatic change in the fluorescence of extractives within mesophyll cells from ultraviolet (UV) excited weak blue fluorescence to blue excited strong green fluorescence associated with tissue browning. Comparisons were made among fluorophores in terms of optimal excitation, relative brightness compared to lignin, and the effect of pH of mounting medium. Fluorophores in cell walls and extractives in lumens were associated with blue or green emission, compared to the red emission of chlorophyll. Autofluorescence is, therefore, a useful method for comparing the histology of healthy and diseased needles without the need for multiple staining techniques, potentially aiding visual screening of host resistance and disease progression in needle tissue.
Project description:Nutrient resorption is an important strategy for nutrient conservation, particularly under conditions of nutrient limitation. However, changes in nutrient resorption efficiency with stand development and the associated correlations with ecological stoichiometry and homeostasis are poorly understood. In the study, the authors measured carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations in soil and in green and senesced needles along a chronosequence of Mongolian pine (<i>Pinus sylvestris</i> var. <i>mongolica</i>) plantations (12-, 22-, 31-, 42-, 52-, and 59-year-old) in Horqin Sandy Land of China, calculated N and P resorption efficiency (NRE and PRE, respectively), and homeostasis coefficient. The authors found that soil organic C and total N concentrations increased, but soil total P and available P concentrations decreased with stand age. Green needle N concentrations and N:P ratios as well as senesced needle C:N ratios, NRE, and PRE exhibited patterns of initial increase and subsequent decline with stand age, whereas green needle C:N ratios and senesced needle N concentrations, and N:P ratios exhibited the opposite pattern. NRE was positively correlated with N concentration and N:P ratio, but negatively correlated with C:N ratio in green needles, whereas the opposite pattern was observed in senesced needles. PRE was negatively correlated with senesced needle P concentration, soil-available N concentration, and available N:P ratio. The homeostatic coefficient of N:P was greater when including all stand ages than when including only those younger than 42 years. These findings indicate that tree growth may change from tending to be N limited to tending to be P limited along the Mongolian pine plantation chronosequence. Nutrient resorption was coupled strongly to tree growth and development, whereas it played a lesser role in maintaining stoichiometric homeostasis across the plantation chronosequence. Therefore, adaptive fertilization management strategies should be applied for the sustainable development of Mongolian pine plantations.
Project description:Pine needle litter in Himalayan forests leads to forest fires, ground water recharge inhibition, soil acidification and contamination, and stops the growth of grass and plants. This study provides a possible solution for pine needle litter problem by converting it to biochar. Pine needle litter lying on the ground for approximately a month was collected from the Himalayan region. The pine needle litter biochars were generated using slow pyrolysis (residence time, 30 min; heating rate, 10 °C/min) at 350, 450, 550, 650, and 750 °C. Finally, pine needle litter biochar prepared at 550 °C (PNBC550) was selected for sorptive removal of aqueous lead both in batch and column studies. The PNBC550 was characterized for proximate and elemental compositions, crystallinity, surface area, morphology, and functional groups. A BET surface area of 230.9 m2/g was obtained for PNBC550. Batch sorption studies were carried out to study (1) the adsorption versus pH studies (at pH 2 to 7), (2) isotherms (at 10, 25, and 35 °C) to evaluate the temperature effect on the sorption efficiency, and (3) kinetics to reveal the effect of time, adsorbent dose, and initial concentration on the reaction rate. Increasing pyrolysis temperature raised lead sorption up to 550 °C. Lead adsorption increased considerably as pH rose from 2 to a maximum adsorption around pH 5 and above. The sorption data were fitted using different isotherm models and kinetic equations. The Langmuir adsorption capacity increased from 22.93 mg/g at 10 °C to 40.43 mg/g at 35 °C, showing that adsorption was endothermic. Fixed-bed studies were conducted at room temperature with an initial lead concentration of 7.85 mg/L and 4.0 g of PNBC550 at initial pH 5.0 and a flow rate of 3 mL/min. Desorption studies conducted under the same experimental conditions found about 90-93% lead recovery. Development of high-efficiency biochars for lead remediation provides a sustainable solution for the Himalayan pine needle litter problem. The biochars also possess the possible potential for aqueous removal of other metal cations.
Project description:This article describes a dataset of multiangular scattering properties of small trees (height = 0.38-0.7 m) at visible, near-infrared, and shortwave-infrared wavelengths (350-2500 nm), and provides supporting auxiliary data that comprise leaf, needle, and bark spectra, and structural characteristics of the trees. Multiangular spectra were measured for 18 trees belonging to three common European tree species: Scots pine (<i>Pinus sylvestris</i> L.), Norway spruce (<i>Picea abies</i> (L.) H. Karst), and sessile oak (<i>Quercus petraea</i> (Matt.) Liebl.). The measurements were performed in 47 different view angles across a hemisphere, using a laboratory goniometer and a non-imaging spectrometer. Leaf and needle spectra were measured for each tree, using a non-imaging spectrometer coupled to an integrating sphere. Bark spectra were measured for one sample tree per species. In addition, leaf and needle fresh mass, surface area of leaves, needles, and woody parts, silhouette area, and spherically averaged silhouette to total area ratio (STAR) for each tree were measured or derived from the measurements. The data are useful for modeling the shortwave reflectance characteristics of small trees and potentially forests, and thus benefit climate modeling or interpretation of remote sensing data.
Project description:The relationship between the ecological success of needle pathogens of forest trees and species richness of co-inhabiting endophytic fungi is poorly understood. One of the most dangerous foliar pathogens of pine is <i>Dothistroma septosporum</i>, which is a widely spread threat to northern European forests. We sampled two <i>Pinus sylvestris</i> sites in Estonia and two in Norway in order to analyse the relations between the abundance of <i>D. septosporum</i> and overall fungal richness, specific fungal species composition, time of season, needle age and position in the canopy. In both countries, the overall species richness of fungi was highest in autumn, showing a trend of increase with needle age. The overall species richness in the second-year needles in Estonia and third-year needles in Norway was similar, suggesting that a critical colonization threshold for needle shed in <i>P. sylvestris</i> is breached earlier in Estonia than in Norway. The fungal species richness in <i>P. sylvestris</i> needles was largely affected by <i>Lophodermium conigenum</i>. Especially in older needles, the relative abundance of <i>L. conigenum</i> was significantly higher in spring compared to summer or autumn. The timing of recruitment and colonization mechanisms of different foliage endophytes are shortly discussed.
Project description:This study aimed to determine how specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf dry matter content (LDMC) respond to N addition and understory vegetation removal in a 13-year-old Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) plantation. Traits (SLA, LDMC, individual needle dry weight, N and P concentrations) of different-aged needles and their crown-average values were measured, and their relationships with soil N and P availability were examined. N addition and understory removal reduced soil Olsen-P by 15-91%. At the crown level, N addition significantly reduced foliar P concentration (by 19%) and SLA (by 8%), and elevated N concentration (by 31%), LDMC (by 10%) and individual leaf dry weight (by 14%); understory removal did not have a significant effect on all leaf traits. At the needle age level, traits of the previous year's needles responded more strongly to N addition and understory removal than the traits of current-year needles, particularly SLA and N concentration. SLA and LDMC correlated more closely with soil Olsen-P than with soil inorganic N, and LDMC correlated more closely with soil Olsen-P than SLA did. These results indicate that aggravated P limitation resulting from N addition and understory removal could constrain Mongolian pine growth through their effects on the leaf traits.
Project description:Pine needles are one of the most commonly used bioindicators of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the environment. Therefore, the main objective of the current research was the assessment of PAHs accumulation potential of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) needles in comparison to wild rosemary (Rhododendron tomentosum Harmaja) and birch (Betula spp.) leaves. Our study was carried out on three peat bogs subjected to different degree of anthropopression, which gave us also the opportunity to identify local emission sources. Pine needles had the lowest accumulation potential from all the studied species. The highest accumulation potential, and hence carcinogenic potential, was observed for wild rosemary leaves. As far as emission sources are concerned, the most pronounced influence on atmospheric PAHs loads had traditional charcoal production, resulting in great influx of heavy PAHs. Observed seasonal changes in PAHs concentrations followed the pattern of winter increase, caused mainly by heating season, and summer decrease, caused mainly by volatilization of light PAHs.