pp 1–12 | Cite as

Localization and speciation of cobalt and nickel in the leaves of the cobalt-hyperaccumulating tree Clethra barbinervis

  • Tsuyoshi YamaguchiEmail author
  • Chie Tsukada
  • Kentaro Takahama
  • Toshiki Hirotomo
  • Rie Tomioka
  • Chisato Takenaka
Original Article


Key message

The accumulation and tolerance mechanisms for Co are clearly different from those for Ni in the leaves of C. barbinervis in terms of both the distribution and speciation.


Clethra barbinervis is a Co-hyperaccumulating tree and also accumulates Ni at high concentrations. The mechanism and role of accumulation in tree physiology remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the localization and speciation of Co and Ni in the leaves of C. barbinervis to reveal the mechanisms behind its tolerance to high concentrations of these elements. C. barbinervis seedlings were grown for 3 years under treatments with Co or Ni in the rhizosphere. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) analyses were then used to evaluate the distribution and chemical states of Co, Ni, and S in the adaxial leaf epidermis. In addition, the treated leaves were cut into several parts according to the XRF imaging results on Co or Ni, and the concentrations of elements, sulfate, and organic acids were determined in each part by chemical analyses. XRF images showed that Co was present at the tip of the leaf at a high concentration, whereas Ni was mainly distributed around the leaf edge. Results of chemical analyses on leaf parts containing Co or Ni indicated that sulfate acts as a counter ion for Co and that Ni combined with succinic and/or oxalic acid. In addition, XANES analysis showed that sulfate tended to be reduced and glutathione was generated in the tip of the leaf. Our results indicate that C. barbinervis distinguishes Co and Ni and translocates them to different parts of the leaf.


Cobalt (Co) Nickel (Ni) Sulfur (S) Hyperaccumulator X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) X-ray fluorescence (XRF) 



We thank Dr. Hirozumi Azuma and Mr. Takaaki Murai of the Aichi Synchrotron Radiation Center, Aichi Science & Technology Foundation and Prof. Masao Tabuchi of the Synchrotron Radiation Research Center at Nagoya University for coordination and technical support at synchrotron X-ray measurements. We thank Prof. Shinya Yagi of the Institute of Materials and Systems for Sustainability at Nagoya University for technical support with collecting the data of S K-edge XANES spectra. The synchrotron X-ray experiments were conducted at the BL5S1 and 6N1 of Aichi Synchrotron Radiation Center, Aichi Science & Technology Foundation, Aichi, Japan (Proposal No. 201702073 and 201704079). This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant number 17J04296.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Bioagricultural SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Synchrotron Radiation Research CenterNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.SPring-8 Service Co., Ltd.TatsunoJapan

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