La, Ce and Nd in the soil-plant system in a vegetation experiment with barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020 Dec 15;206:111193. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111193. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Rare earth elements (REEs) have received enormous attention in recent years. However, there are many gaps in the understanding of their behavior in the soil-plant system. The aim of this study is to investigate the behavior of three most common REEs (La, Ce, Nd) in the soil-plant system directly on soil samples using barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in a vegetation experiment. We attribute the absence of significant changes in plant biomass and photosynthetic pigment content to the reduced availability of REEs in soil samples. The concentration of water-soluble forms of La, Ce and Nd didn't exceed 1 mg/kg, while the concentration of exchangeable forms varied and decreased in a row La > Ce > Nd. The transfer factor (TF) from soil to above-ground biomass was low for all three elements (<1). The stem-to-leaf TF increased with the increase in REEs concentration in soil. The concentration in plant material increased in the row Ce < Nd < La. REEs concentrations in barley leaves didn't exceed 1-3% of the corresponding element concentration in soil samples. REEs concentration in plant tissues is in close direct correlation with the REEs total concentration in soil, water-soluble and exchange forms. REEs concentration in barley leaves is 3-4 times higher than in the stems and for the group with extraneous concentration of 200 mg/kg for La, Ce and Nd was 6.20 ± 1.48, 2.10 ± 0.51, 6.90 ± 3.00 mg/kg, respectively. We show that there were no major changes in barley plants, but further study is needed of the relationship between the absorption of lanthanides by plants and the content of various forms of lanthanides in the soil.

Keywords: Biotesting; Lanthanides; Rare earth elements; Soil-plant system.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Biomass
  • Cerium / analysis*
  • Cerium / metabolism
  • Hordeum / drug effects*
  • Hordeum / growth & development
  • Hordeum / metabolism
  • Lanthanum / analysis*
  • Lanthanum / metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neodymium / analysis*
  • Neodymium / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism


  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Neodymium
  • Cerium
  • Lanthanum