Current issue: 54(2)
A comparison study concerning the effects of acid rain on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings has been performed. Two different X-ray fluorescence methods, PIXE and IXRF, were employed to produce multielement analyses of the samples. Seedlings were treated for 3 months with watering of pH=7 or pH=3 liquids on the needles and on the roots. One year and two years old needles of the seedlings were inspected for changes in photosynthetic rate as well as for changes in elemental concentrations.
Twelve elements from Si to Zn were compared in the samples. The PIXE results show that the amounts of most of these elements in the needles of the seedlings grown in sand increase, when treated with acid water. This growth is clearer when the roots are treated with acid water. The elemental concentrations of the needles in the seedlings grown in soil on the other hand decrease slightly.
A method to determine sulphur as sulphate has been applied to search for surface concentration of sulphate sulphur on needle samples. The method is based on reducing sulphates as volatile hydrogen sulphide gas by using hydriodic acid. The hydrogen sulphide gas is swept with nitrogen into an absorbent solution. Sulphide ion concentration in solution is then measured using ion selective electrodes.
The method was applied on one to four years old needle samples collected from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at 0.9 to 15.9 km distances from a 1,064 MW coal-fired power plant in Southern Finland. Surface sulphate values found in the samples closer than 4 km to the power plant were 50 to 100% higher than a nearly constant background level. No significant variation of values with needle age was found. The advantages of the method compares to other methods for sulphur determination are speed, reasonable sensitivity and low detection limit.