Heavy Metal and Arsenic Resistance of the Halophyte Atriplex halimus L. Along a Gradient of Contamination in a French Mediterranean Spray Zone


  • Rabier Jacques
  • Laffont-Schwob Isabelle
  • Pricop Anca
  • Ellili Ahlem
  • d'Enjoy-Weinkammerer Gabriel
  • Salducci Marie-Dominique
  • Prudent Pascale
  • Lotmani Brahim
  • Tonetto Alain
  • Masotti Veronique


  • Non-invasive sensors
  • Phytostabilization
  • Salt-affected soils
  • Inorganic contamination
  • Root symbioses
  • Mediterranean saltbush

document type



Elements uptake, histological distributions as well as mycorrhizal and physiological statuses of Atriplex halimus were determined on trace metal and metalloid polluted soils from the surrounding spray zones of a former lead smelter in the South-East coast of Marseille (France). Analyses of heavy metal and arsenic distribution in soil and plant organs showed that A. halimus tolerance is largely due to exclusion mechanisms. No specific heavy metal concentration in leaf or root tissues was observed. However, accumulation of salts (NaCl, KCl, Mg and Ca salts) on leaf bladders and peripheral tissues of roots was observed and may compete with metal element absorption. Occurrence of endomycorrhizal structures was detected in roots and may contribute to lower element transfer from root into the aerial parts of plants. The non-destructive measurements of leaf epidermal chlorophylls, flavonols and phenols showed a healthy state of the A. halimus population on the metal and metalloid polluted sites. Considering the low metal bioaccumulation and translocation factors along with a reduced metal stress diagnosis, A. halimus appeared as a good candidate for phytostabilization of trace metals and metalloids and notably arsenic in contaminated soils of the Mediterranean spray zone. However, its invasive potential has to be determined before an intensive in situ use.

more information