Application of total-reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography for the chemical characterization of xylem saps of nickel contaminated cucumber plants

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Total-reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectrometry, reversed-phase (RP) and size-exclusion (SE) high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods were applied for the characterization of low-volume xylem sap of control and nickel contaminated cucumber plants growing in hydroponics containing urea as the sole nitrogen source. In these saps collected for 1 h, Ca, K, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn, as well as malic, citric and fumaric acids were determined. The SEC measurements showed that macromolecules were not detectable in the samples. Nickel contamination had minimum impact on the organic acid transport, however, the transport of Zn, K and Fe was reduced by 50, 22 and 11%, respectively. This observation supports the results of our earlier experiments when nitrate ions were used as the sole nitrogen form. At the same time, the fresh root weight and the volume of the collected xylem sap increased by 36 and 85%, respectively. Therefore, nickel addition seemed to decrease the urea toxicity of the plants. By pooling the eluting fractions of the SEC column, which were 10-fold concentrated by freeze-drying, the series of the resulted samples were analyzed by the TXRF spectrometry and RP-HPLC. The three organic acids could be identified in only one of the fractions, which contained Fe and, in the case of the contaminated plants, Ni in detectable concentration. However, considerable parts of these two elements and Mn, as well as practically the total amounts of Cu may be transported by unidentified organic compounds in the xylem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2235-2246
Number of pages12
JournalSpectrochimica Acta - Part B Atomic Spectroscopy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - nov. 30 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

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