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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Uptake and storage of PCBs by plant cuticles.
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Uptake and storage of PCBs by plant cuticles.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1/01/2008
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Journal number1
Volume42
Number of pages6
Pages100-105
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The uptake kinetics and storage of PCBs by isolated cuticles and cuticular waxes from Hedera helix, Prunus laurocerasus, and Ilex aquifolium were studied. Small chambers were used, allowing variation in plant uptake parameters to be studied by having the same air boundary layer in each chamber. During the 64 day study tri- and tetrachlorinated biphenyls generally reached equilibrium in waxes but not in whole cuticles. Differences between species were observed. Higher chlorinated PCB congeners did not approach equilibrium in either sample type. Although PCBs showed higher affinity for waxes than whole cuticles, the latter dominated the total uptake capacity on a surface area basis, because of the large amount of nonwax cuticular components. Mass transfer coefficients (MTCs) for PCB uptake (into both cuticles and waxes) indicated partition dependence up to log octanol/air partition coefficients (KOA) of 8.5−10, depending on species and sample type. For cuticles, higher MTCs occurred at the beginning of the experiment than later. This was not seen in reconstituted waxes, a difference which may be explained by the dispersion of intracuticular waxes within cuticles. For more lipophilic compounds, uptake appeared to be limited by diffusion processes, which may be influenced by plant physiology. Leaf surface area is, therefore, likely to control the ability of vegetation to scavenge these compounds from the air in many field situations.