Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine): a reliable indicator for delineating areas of anomalous soil composition for biogeochemical prospecting of Arsenic, Antimony and Tungsten

J. Pratas1, M.N.V. Prasad2, H. Freitas3,*, L. Conde1

1 Departamento de Ciências da Terra, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal
2 Department of Plant Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500046 India
3 Departamento de Botânica, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal

Received 22 December 2002; accepted 17 March 2004


Biogeochemical prospecting requires right selection of biological material. Accurate analysis of sampled materials, elimination or minimization of errors due to mixup of different plant parts of variable ages are equally important. The aim of this work is to evaluate the potential of different age needles and twigs of Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine). P. pinaster is one of the important indicator species for biogeochemical prospecting. For this investigation we chose one of the old mining areas viz. Gatas, East Central Portugal which was contaminated with As, Sb and W. In this investigation, needles and twigs of different age have been collected for analysis of metals. It was observed that 2-year-old needes are the best material for recovery of As, Sb, W. The present work aslo elucidates the accumulation variation of As, Sb, W in twigs and needles of P. pinaster of different ages. The results highlight the sampling of plant parts and their age as important factors for biogeochemical prospecting. This investigation is based on principal components analysis (PCA). The data was also subjected to Biogeochemical Anomaly Index (BAI).

Keywords: Froth Pinis pinaster; Bioindicator; Biogeochemical prospecting; Arsenic; Antimony; Tungsten

* Corresponding author
   E-mail : hfreitas@ci.uc.pt