Chemical analyses performed on the invasive weed Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) growing in industrially contaminated (Ulsan) and noncontaminated (Suwon) sites in South Korea indicated that the levels of phenolic compounds and various elements that include some heavy metals (Al, As, B, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) were statistically higher in Ulsan soils compared to Suwon soils with Al being the highest (>1,116 mg/l compared to 432 mg/l). Analysis of metals and nutrients (K, Na, Ca, Mg, Cl, NH4, N, P, S) in plant tissues indicated that accumulation occurred dominantly in plant leaves with Al levels being 33.8 times higher in Ulsan plants (PaU) compared to Suwon plants (PaS). The ability of PaU and PaS to tolerate stress was evaluated under controlled conditions by varying atmospheric CO2 and temperature and soil pH. When grown in pH 6.4 soils, the highest growth rate of PaU and PaS plants occurred at elevated (30??C) and non-elevated (25??C) temperatures, respectively. Both PaU and PaS plants showed the highest and lowest growth rates when exposed to atmospheric CO2 levels of 360 and 650 ppm, respectively. The impact of soil pH (2-6.4) on seed germination rates, plant growth, chlorophyll content, and the accumulation of phenolics were measured to assess the effects of industrial pollution and global-warming-related stresses on plants. The highest seed germination rate and chlorophyll content occurred at pH 2.0 for both PaU and PaS plants. Increased pH from 2-5 correlated to increased phenolic compounds and decreased chlorophyll content. However, at pH 6.4, a marked decrease in phenolic compounds, was observed and chlorophyll content increased. These results suggest that although plants from Ulsan and Suwon sites are the same species, they differ in the ability to deal with various stresses. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Additional publication details
Phytolacca americana from contaminated and noncontaminated soils of South Korea: Effects of elevated temperature, CO2 and simulated acid rain on plant growth response