The primary objective of this study is to perform a comparative analysis of the trace element content of the leaves and roots of three Plantago species (P. maxima Juss. ex Jacq., P. major L., and P. lanceolata L.). Trace element levels were assessed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The data indicate that the leaves of P. lanceolata are characterized by the highest Co, Cr, and Se content, whereas P. maxima leaves contained the greatest levels of Si and Zn. In contrast, the highest concentrations of Co, Cr, Fe, I, Mn, Si, and V were detected in the roots of P. major. Zn content was also higher in P. maxima roots than in the other species analyzed. The toxic trace elements were differentially distributed across the studied species. In particular, P. lanceolata leaves contained significantly higher Al, As, Li, Ni, Pb, and Sr levels, whereas the B and Cd content was elevated in P. major as compared to the other species. Surprisingly, the leaf Hg level was the lowest in P. major, whose levels of Al, As, B, Cd, Ni, Li, and Sr were significantly higher than the other two species. The data indicate that the concentration of most of the essential trace elements was higher in the leaves and roots of P. major and P. lanceolata than in P. maxima, while P. maxima had less toxic metals. The obtained data on trace elements content in Plantago tissues may be taken into account while using plant preparations in practical medicine.
Keywords: Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; Leaves; Plantago; Roots; Trace elements.