Allocation and source attribution of lead and cadmium in maize (Zea mays L.) impacted by smelting emissions

Xiangyang Bi, Xinbin Feng, Yuangen Yang, Xiangdong Li, Grace P.Y. Shin, Feili Li, Guangle Qiu, Guanghui Li, Taoze Liu, Zhiyou Fu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Plants grown in contaminated areas may accumulate trace metals to a toxic level via their roots and/or leaves. In the present study, we investigated the distribution and sources of Pb and Cd in maize plants (Zea mays L.) grown in a typical zinc smelting impacted area of southwestern China. Results showed that the smelting activities caused significantly elevated concentrations of Pb and Cd in the surrounding soils and maize plants. Pb isotope data revealed that the foliar uptake of atmospheric Pb was the dominant pathway for Pb to the leaf and grain tissues of maize, while Pb in the stalk and root tissues was mainly derived from root uptake. The ratio of Pb to Cd concentrations in the plants indicated that Cd had a different behavior from Pb, with most Cd in the maize plants coming from the soil via root uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-839
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Cadmium
  • China
  • Lead
  • Maize
  • Pb isotopes
  • Soil
  • Zinc smelting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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