Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Melida Gutierrez


phytoremediation, plants, metals, Pearson Creek, mining

Subject Categories

Botany | Mining Engineering | Sedimentology


Historical lead and zinc mining contaminated sediments in the Pearson Creek area, Greene county Missouri. Although these mining operations ceased 40 years ago, metals are still present in parts of the area. The objective of this study was to assess uptake and storage (roots, shoots or leaves) of chromium, zinc and lead by plants in the area to determine which plant species would be best suited for phytoremediation. Plants were collected on the site and brought to the lab where they were freeze dried, ground, microwave digested and analyzed with Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) to determine metal concentrations. Soil samples collected from underneath the plant were analyzed for metal concentrations with X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). The results indicate that grass would be best suited for remediation of Cr, and marsh seedbox would be best suited for remediation of Zn and Pb for this area. Typically, metal concentrations were higher in the plant roots than in leaves and shoots. Higher metal concentrations in sediments were typically associated with higher uptake in plants. However, the site with the highest Zn had the lowest uptake in plants, which could mean Zn at the site was not as bioavailable.


© Jennifer Darling Kissel

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