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Dyakova N. A. Accumulation of Heavy Metals and Arsenic in the Leaves of Plantago Major. Izvestiya of Saratov University. Chemistry. Biology. Ecology, 2020, vol. 20, iss. 2, pp. 232-239. DOI:

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Accumulation of Heavy Metals and Arsenic in the Leaves of Plantago Major


Voronezh Oblast is traditionally important agricultural and plantgrowing region. The purpose of this study was to examine heavy metal contamination of medicinal plant products of Voronezh Oblast using the leaves of Plantago major L. that were collected in urban and agricultural ecosystems, exposed to anthropogenic impacts. The analysis was carried out using atomic absorption spectrometer MGA-915 MD, according to pharmacopeial methods. Accumulation of heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc) and arsenic in 51 samples of P. major leaves was evaluated. In comparing heavy metal content in top layers of soil to the data obtained on the leaves of P. major we assume the existence of significant physiological barriers, preventing the accumulation of ecotoxicants in generative plant organs. The most remarkable effects were observed for lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt and chromium. It was found that P. major is capable of selectively concentrating of several heavy metals bound at enzyme active sites (copper and zinc, for instance) if the metal content in environment is lower than required for life sustaining. The transport of these chemical elements to the leaves was blocked by the plant if the amount of metals in soils was significant. Based on this evidence we can conclude that anthropogenic impact leads to formation of edaphotype of P. major due to selection under conditions of technogenic pollution and adaptation to these conditions. The results of the study demonstrate the ability of the leaves of P. major to accumulate toxic elements from the soils that should be considered when planning sites of medicinal plant products storage and for their quality assessment.


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