Elemental analyses of pine bark and wood in an environmental study

K-E Saarela, L. Harju, Johan Rajander, Jan-Olof Lill, Sven-Johan Heselius, Alf Lindroos, K. Mattsson

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    Bark and wood samples were taken from the same individuals of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) from a polluted area close to a Cu-Ni smelter in Harjavalta and from some relatively unpolluted areas in western Finland. The samples were analysed by thick-target particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE) after preconcentration by dry ashing at 550 degrees C. The elemental contents of pine bark and wood were compared to study the impact of heavy metal pollution on pine trees. By comparison of the elemental contents in ashes of bark and wood, a normalisation was obtained. For the relatively clean areas, the ratios of the concentration in bark ash to the concentration in wood ash for different elements were close to 1. This means that the ashes of Scots Pine wood and bark have quite similar elemental composition. For the samples from the polluted area the mean concentration ratios for some heavy metals were elevated (13-28), reflecting the effect of direct atmospheric contamination. The metal contents in the ashes of pine bark and wood were also compared to recommendations for ashes to be recycled back to the forest environment. Bark from areas close to emission sources of heavy metal pollution should be considered with caution if aiming at recycling the ash. Burning of bark fuel of pine grown within 6 km of the Cu-Ni smelter is shown to generate ashes with high levels of Cu, Ni as well as Cd, As and Pb. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)231–241
    Number of pages11
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • ashes
    • atmospheric pollution
    • heavy metals
    • pine bark
    • pine wood
    • PIXE

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