Original Article

Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 1091-1102

First online:

Pedo and biogeochemical studies of mafic and ultramfic rocks in the Mingora and Kabal areas, Swat, Pakistan

  • Mohammad Tahir ShahAffiliated withNational Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar Email author 
  • , Shaheen BegumAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Sciences, Fatima Jenah Women University
  • , Sardar KhanAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar

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This study highlights the heavy metals (HMs) distribution in soils and their uptake by wild plants grown in the soils derived from the mafic and ultramafic terrains. Plant and soil samples were analyzed for Cu, Pb, Zn, Cr, Ni and Cd using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The data indicate that almost all the HMs in the soil samples collected from the study area exceeded the reference and normal agricultural soils. Greater variability was noticed in the uptake of HMs by various plants grown on the studied soils. High concentrations of Cu and Zn in Cannabis sativa L. (seft hemp), Pb in Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) (Ailanto), Ni and Cr in Indigofrra gerardiana Wall. ex Baker (sage), and Saccharum griffihii Munro ex Boiss. (plume grass) were noticed among the studied plants. The multifold enrichments of Cr and Ni in the Indigofrra gerardiana and Saccharum griffihii as compared to the other plants of the study area suggested that these plants have the ability to uptake and translocate high concentrations of Cr and Ni. The excessive concentrations of Cr and Ni in these plants can be used for mineral prospecting but their main concern could be of serious environmental problems and health risks in the inhabitants of the study areas.


Soils Plants Mafic ultramafic rocks Heavy metals Environmental impact