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Abstract  

This work addresses the chemical features of topsoils from São Domingos mine, Portugal, an abandoned mining area since middle of twentieth century. The fractions below 1 mm of the surface-soil samples (0–15 cm) were measured by k0-standardized, instrumental neutron activation analysis in order to determine the levels of rare earth element concentrations in comparison to control soils. A fractionation between the heavy and light rare-earth elements (REEs) occurred, with the latter enriched relatively to the first ones. The REEs pattern is similar in all sites with higher concentrations in the mine area as compared to the control site. The ratios between REEs are conventional for three subsamples but slightly diverge for the other sites. The REEs pattern is similar to one of the volcanic islands still with activity as Sao Miguel in Azores, Portugal, and similar to the one of an industrial area containing coal power plant and refinery.

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Abstract  

This study aims to find out a vascular plant species that accumulate relatively high concentrations of arsenic (As) for its use as phytoremediator at abandoned and contaminated mining areas, such as São Domingos mines (Portugal). The assessment of As contamination levels in soils and plants of other similar sites in the north of the country (Castromil and Poço de Freitas) was also conducted; and the sample analyses were made by instrumental neutron activation analysis. Agrostis genera have shown higher As transfer coefficients than other studied plant species and, in particular, Agrostis curtisii has shown a reasonable ability to accumulate high concentration of this toxic element.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: C. Galinha, M. Freitas, A. Pacheco, J. Kameník, J. Kučera, H. Anawar, J. Coutinho, B. Maçãs, and A. Almeida

Abstract  

Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for human health but it is deficient in at least 1 billion people around the globe. Cereals are by far the most significant agricultural crops, not only on a gross tonnage basis, but also by what they represent in terms of energy supply and dietary intake for human nutrition worldwide. Portugal is no exception to such pattern. The Portuguese situation is difficult to assess though, due to scarce information and lack of consistent studies on the subject. In these terms, the Se status of major cereals and their cultivation soils are dealt with herein. Two species of wheat–bread and durum wheat–were sown at the end of November 2009, and then sampled in different growth stages. Rye was collected during harvest season, and cultivation soils were analyzed as well. Se results were within the range of: 100–225 ng g−1 for soils; 3–55 ng g−1 for durum wheat; 6–80 ng g−1 for bread wheat; and 4–30 ng g−1 for rye. Accuracy of the RNAA procedure was proved by analysis of reference materials NIST-SRM 1515 and NIST-SRM 8433.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: M. Freitas, A. Pacheco, H. Anawar, I. Dionísio, H. Dung, N. Canha, A. Bettencourt, F. Henriques, C. Pinto-Gomes, and S. Capelo

Abstract  

This study has determined contamination levels in soils and plants from the São Domingos mining area, Portugal, by k 0-INAA. Total concentrations of As, Sb, Cr, Hg, Cu, Zn and Fe in soils were very high, exceeding the maximum limits in Portuguese legislation. Concentrations of toxic elements like As, Sb and Zn were highest in roots of Erica andevalensis, Juncus acutus, Agrostis castellana and Nicotiana glauca. Additionally, As, Br, Cr, Fe, Sb and Zn in all organs of most plants were above toxicity levels. Those species that accumulated relatively high concentrations of toxic elements in roots (and tops) may be cultivated for phytostabilisation of similar areas.

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