Threat of heavy metal contamination in eight mangrove plants from the Futian mangrove forest, China

Abstract

Mangrove plants play an important role in heavy metal maintenance in a mangrove ecosystem. To evaluate the characteristics of heavy metal contamination in the Futian mangrove forest, Shenzhen, China, eight heavy metals in mangrove sediments and plants were monitored, including essential elements such as Cu and Zn, and non-essential elements such as Cr, Ni, As, Cd, Pb and Hg. The results showed that the heavy metals exhibited the following scheme: Zn > As > Cu ≈ Cr > Pb > Ni > Cd ≈ Hg in sediment cores, among which Cd, As, Pb and Hg contents were nearly ten times higher than the background values. There was no significant difference in metal maintenance capability between native and exotic species. In mangrove plants’ leaves and stems, concentrations of Cu, Zn and As were higher than other heavy metals. The low bioconcentration factors for most heavy metals, except for Cr, implied the limited ability of heavy metal accumulation by the plants. Mangrove plants seem to develop some degree of tolerance to Cr. The factor analysis implies that anthropogenic influences have altered metal mobility and bioavailability.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School and the Futian Mangrove Forest Nature Reserve.

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Correspondence to Guoyu Qiu.

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He, B., Li, R., Chai, M. et al. Threat of heavy metal contamination in eight mangrove plants from the Futian mangrove forest, China. Environ Geochem Health 36, 467–476 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-013-9574-3

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Keywords

  • Mangroves
  • Heavy metals
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Sediments