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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 456-472; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100456
Article

Traffic-Related Trace Element Accumulation in Roadside Soils and Wild Grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

1
, 1,* , 2
, 2
 and 1
1 MOE Key Laboratory for Urban Transportation Complex Systems Theory and Technology, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China 2 Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
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Abstract

This research examines traffic-source trace elements accumulations and distributions in roadside soils and wild grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A total of 100 soil samples and 100 grass samples including Achnatherum splendens, Anaphalis nepalensis, Artemisia sphaerocephala, Carex moorcroftii, Iris lacteal, Kobresia myosuroides, Oreosolen wattii, Oxytropis ochrocephala and Stellera chamaejasme were collected at 100 sites from different road segments. The contents of metals and metalloids, including Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, Co, Ni and As, in the soil and grass samples were analyzed using ICP-MS. The total mean concentrations of the eight trace elements in soils are Cu (22.84 mg/kg), Zn (100.56 mg/kg), Cd (0.28 mg/kg), Pb (28.75 mg/kg), Cr (36.82 mg/kg), Co (10.24 mg/kg), Ni (32.44 mg/kg) and As (21.43 mg/kg), while in grasses are Cu (9.85 mg/kg), Zn (31.47 mg/kg), Cd (0.05 mg/kg), Pb (2.06 mg/kg), Cr (14.16 mg/kg), Co (0.55 mg/kg), Ni (4.03 mg/kg) and As (1.33 mg/kg). The metal and metalloid concentrations in the nine grass species were all below the critical values of hyperaccumulators. The mean values and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) results indicate that: (1) the concentrations of the trace elements in the soils are higher than those in the grasses, (2) the concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb in the soils decrease as the roadside distance increases, (3) the concentrations of trace elements in the grasses are the highest at 10 m from the road edge, (4) the higher the traffic volume, the higher the concentrations of the trace elements in the roadside soils and grasses, and (5) when the land cover is meadow, the lower the sand content in the soil, the lower the trace element concentrations. With a trace element's bioavailability represented by its transfer factor (TF) from the soil to the grass, the TFs of the eight trace elements are not in the same orders for different grass species.
Keywords: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; trace element; roadside soil; roadside grass; transfer factor (TF) Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; trace element; roadside soil; roadside grass; transfer factor (TF)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Wang, G.; Yan, X.; Zhang, F.; Zeng, C.; Gao, D. Traffic-Related Trace Element Accumulation in Roadside Soils and Wild Grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 456-472.

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