Article thumbnail

Rare earth elements in forest-floor herbs as related to soil conditions and mineral nutrition

By Germund Tyler and Tommy Olsson


Mixtures of rare earth elements (REEs) in fertilizers are widely used in Chinese agriculture to improve crop nutrition. REE concentrations in wild-growing plants, especially herbs, are little known. This study describes differences in the concentrations and proportions of REEs in eight forest-floor herbaceous plants and relates these differences to soil and mineral nutrient conditions. REEs studied were yttrium (Y), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and lutetium (Lu). Leaf concentrations of sum REEs differed more than one order of magnitude between species, being highest in Anemone nemorosa (10.1 nmol/g dry mass) and lowest in Convallaria majnlis (0.66 nmol/g) from the same site. Leaf concentrations of all REEs correlated positively (p < 0.001), as did sum REE with calcium (Ca) and strontium (Sr) concentrations (p < 0.001). A negative relationship (r = -0.83, (p < 0.001) was measured between phosphorus (P) concentrations and sum REE concentrations in leaves. However, the proportions of the single REEs in the REE sum differed among species. In A. nemorosa, 57% of the molar REE sum was taken by Y + La, and only 21% by Ce. The other extreme was Maianthemum bifolium, with 37% La + Y and 41% Ce. These two species had 2.7-3.0%, of the REE sum as heavier lanthanides, compared to 4.1-5.2% in the six other species. No clear relationship between soil properties or REE contents and leaf REE concentrations was detected. For La, however, an overrepresentation in leaves prevailed throughout all species compared to soils, whereas particularly Nd, Sm, and Tb had a lower proportion in the leaves of all species than in their soils. Possible uptake mechanisms of REEs in plants are discussed

Topics: Ecology
Publisher: 'Springer Science and Business Media LLC'
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1385/bter:106:2:177
OAI identifier:
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.