The collapse of a pyrite-mining, tailing dam on 1998 contaminated an area of 4286 ha along the Agrio and Guadiamar river valleys in southern Spain. Over 2700 ha of the Don??ana marshes, an important wintering area for wetland European birds, were contaminated. This study reports analyses of the tubers of Scirpus maritimus (an important food for greylag geese, Anser anser) collected in 2000 in the "Entremuros" (spill-affected area) and in nearby unaffected Don??ana marshes (control areas). In the spill-affected area mean tuber tissue concentrations of Cd (0.25 mg kg-1) and Zn (61 mg kg-1) were greater than in those tubers from the control area (0.02 mg kg-1 for Cd, and 22 mg kg-1 for Zn); values of Cd and Zn in "Entremuros" (samples collected two years after the mine spill) were much smaller than those reported only a few months after the accident. Trace elements (As, Fe, Mn and Tl, and to a lesser extent Cd and Pb) showed a preferential accumulation in the outer skin of tubers. Surprisingly, concentrations of As and Fe were greater in tubers from some marsh sites not affected by the mine-spill than in tubers from the "Entremuros". We suggest that relic river channels within the Don??ana marshes may be contaminated by trace elements from historic mining activities. An exhaustive study of macrophytes and other plant species in this area is recommended to identify potential risks to wildlife. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional Publication Details
Accumulation of As, Cd and selected trace elements in tubers of Scirpus maritimus L. from Don??ana marshes (South Spain)