Skip to main content

The use of grasses as indicators of environmental pollution


An exploratory examination of the use of rye grass as an indicator of environmental accumulation of minor elements confirmed that natural grass is contaminated by soil or airborne dust, and that this contamination cannot be washed off sampled grass with water without also removing elements from within the leaves, to an extent that varies with the age and/or environment of the grass. This reduces the suitability of natural grasses as indicators of pollution, and alternative procedures are required and proposed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Arkley, T. H. et al., Agr. Food Chem.8, 318–321 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Nicholas, D. J. D. et al., Plant and Soil8, 367–377 (1957).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Thompson, A. and Raven, A. M., J. Sci. Fd. Agric.6, 768–777 (1955).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Mitchell, R. L., J. Sci. Fd. Agric.11, 553–560 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Hislop, J. S. and Williams, D. R., The use of non-destructive γ activation for the analysis of rock and biological materials. AERE Harwell Report R6910, HMSO, London (1971).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hislop, J. S. and Williams, D. R., J. Radioanalyt. Chem.16, 329–341 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Beckett, P.H.T., Wollan, E., Cawse, P.A. et al. The use of grasses as indicators of environmental pollution. Plant Soil 49, 691–695 (1978).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Dust
  • Plant Physiology
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Minor Element
  • Alternative Procedure