Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Distribution pathways of hexachlorocyclohexane isomers in a soil-plant-air system. A case study with Cynara scolymus L. and Erica sp. plants grown in a contaminated site.

PMID 18158202


This study focuses on the main routes of distribution and accumulation of different hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers (mainly alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-HCH) in a soil-plant-air system. A field assay was carried out with two plant species, Cynara scolymus L. and Erica sp., which were planted either: (i) directly in the HCH-contaminated soil; or (ii) in pots filled with uncontaminated soil, which were placed in the HCH-contaminated soil. Both plant species accumulated HCH in their tissues, with relatively higher accumulation in above-ground biomass than in roots. The beta-HCH isomer was the main isomer in all plant tissues. Adsorption of HCH by the roots from contaminated soil (soil-->root pathway) and adsorption through the aerial biomass from either the surrounding air, following volatilization of the contaminant (soil-->air-->shoot pathway), and/or contact with air-suspended particles contaminated with HCH (soil particles-->shoot pathway) were the main mechanisms of accumulation. These results may have important implications for the use of plants for reducing the transfer of contaminants via the atmosphere.