European walnut (Juglans regia) plants were grown in pots, on peat soil contaminated with lead (Pb), for four years. European walnut was chosen because it grows in Mediterranean climates, it yields a high biomass, and a fine quality wood. In the above ground parts Pb concentration was 1000 times lower than in roots: in 50 g roots there was 450 mg of Pb. Microanalysis of roots found in periderm more than 50% of the total root Pb. Pb LIII EXAFS spectroscopy was performed on: root powder from Pbexposed plants, Pb-impregnated cellulose and lignin. Comparison of plant material with lignin and cellulose helped to envisage a plant disposal strategy for Pb. This may consist in establishing links with large organic molecules, which are abundant constituents of cell walls. EXAFS spectroscopy evidenced the presence of Pb–O bindings within the ligno-cellulosic structure in roots. Lead was scantly conveyed to the shoots, giving to walnut plants an added asset in Pb phytostabilization.
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