Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 687–703 | Cite as

Metal accumulation by the ultramafic flora of Kosovo

  • Muharrem Salihaj
  • Aida Bani
  • Edmira Shahu
  • Emile Benizri
  • Guillaume Echevarria
Special Feature Ultramafic Ecosystems: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology


The largest serpentine outcrops in Europe occur in the Balkan Peninsula. Kosovo, as a part of this region, hosts an ultramafic area of 487 km2 within its territory. This work reports the first systematic biogeochemical survey on the significant and most representative ultramafic massifs of Kosovo. The aim of this study was (i) to detail the geochemical composition of 12 ultramafic pedons obtained from 10 selected sites chosen as representative for Kosovo, (ii) to inventoriate the flora occurring on these sites and (iii) to identify plant species with potential for use in phytostabilization or phytoextraction purposes. Twelve representative pedons from 10 different sites across the country were excavated and 27 horizon samples were collected. Regarding the serpentine flora, a total of 162 plant taxa located at the ultramafic sites were collected. Soils samples were characterized for basic physico-chemical characteristics and both plant and soil samples were analyzed for chemical composition. The serpentine soils samples displayed a vast array of physico-chemical characteristics which reflected the geochemistry of the bedrock, the degree of weathering and the horizon characteristics. However there appeared to be a relationship between edaphic properties and the occurrence of several plant species. Although most of the plants’ species did not show metal concentrations above 1000 mg kg−1, Odontarrhena muralis (syn. Alyssum murale Waldst. and Kit). and Noccaea ochroleuca (Boiss and Heldr.) F.K.Mey. (syn.Thlaspi ochroleucum), did, thus meeting the criterion of Ni hyperaccumulating plants. Given the aforementioned, the resilience of these plants to both tolerate and accumulate heavy metals may prove useful for phytostabilization,


Serpentine soils Heavy metal Metal bioavailability Bioaccumulation factor Phytoremediation 



We would like to acknowledge the technical team of “Kosovo Agriculture Institute” and “Laboratoire Sols et Environnement”, Nancy, France.

Supplementary material

11284_2018_1635_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (377 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 376 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muharrem Salihaj
    • 1
  • Aida Bani
    • 2
  • Edmira Shahu
    • 3
  • Emile Benizri
    • 4
  • Guillaume Echevarria
    • 4
  1. 1.Agricultural University of TiranaTiranaAlbania
  2. 2.Faculty of Agronomy and EnvironmentAgricultural University of TiranaTiranaAlbania
  3. 3.Department of Economy and Agrarian Policy, Faculty of Economy and AgribusinessAgricultural University of TiranaTiranaAlbania
  4. 4.Laboratoire Sols et EnvironnementUniversité de Lorraine, INRAVandoeuvre-lès-NancyFrance

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