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Environ Pollut. 2004 Nov;132(2):307-20.

The uptake of uranium by Eleocharis dulcis (Chinese water chestnut) in the Ranger Uranium Mine constructed wetland filter.

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School of Science and Primary Industries, Charles Darwin University, Darwin 0909, Australia.


Eleocharis dulcis has proliferated in a constructed wetland used to treat uranium mine runoff water, where it rapidly accumulates significant quantities of uranium (U) in its roots and relatively little in its stems. We investigated the mechanism of U uptake and accumulation by E. dulcis using field-sampling techniques and microcosm test work. Results from the microcosm trials and outcomes from statistical tests of field sampled macrophyte, water and sediment indicate that the primary source of U for E. dulcis is the water column. Basipetal translocation of U to the plant's roots was indicated by significant correlations between the U content of stems, taproots and rhizomes and XPS detection of U inside root segments. U sequestering from sediment interstitial water by Fe hydroxides on root surfaces was also evident. No basipetal translocation was evident following the 28-day duration of the microcosm experiments, indicating that it is a longer-term process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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