Environmental Science and Pollution Research | 2021

Distribution and dispersion of heavy metals in the rock–soil–moss system of the black shale areas in the southeast of Guizhou Province, China



Black shales are easily exposed due to human activities such as mining, road construction, and shale gas development, which results in several environmental issues including heavy metal (HM) pollution, soil erosion, and the destruction of vegetation. Mosses are widely used to monitor metal pollution in the atmosphere, but few studies on the distribution and dispersion of HMs in the rock–soil–moss system are available. Here, mosses (Pohlia flexuosa Harv. in Hook), growing soils, and corresponding parent rocks were collected from black shale areas. After appropriate pretreatment, samples were analyzed for multiple elemental concentrations by ICP-AES and ICP-MS. The results show that black shale parent rocks have elevated HM concentration and act as a source of multiple metals. The overlying soil significantly inherits and accumulates heavy metals released from black shale. Significant positive correlations between HMs in P. flexuosa and the growing soils indicate that HMs are mainly originating from geological source rather than atmospheric deposition. Differential accumulation of HMs is observed between rhizoids and stems in our study. Moreover, P. flexuosa is able to cope with high concentrations of toxic metals without any visible negative effect on its growth and development. Finally, the bioconcentration factor (BCF) for all the HMs in P. flexuosa is less than 1, indicating that it has a tolerance and exclusion mechanism for these metals, especially for the non-essential elements As and Pb. Therefore, the luxuriant and spontaneous growth of P. flexuosa could be used as a phytostabilization pioneer plant in the black shale outcrop where vascular plants are rare.

Volume None
Pages 1 - 14
DOI 10.1007/s11356-021-15335-x
Language English
Journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research

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