Plant Tissues and Embryos Biominerals in Sarcocornia pruinosa, a Halophyte from the Rio Tinto Salt Marshes

De la Fuente, V., Rufo, L., Sánchez Gavilán, I., Ramírez, E., Rodríguez, N., Amils, R. 2018. Plant Tissues and Embryos Biominerals in Sarcocornia pruinosa, a Halophyte from the Rio Tinto Salt Marshes. Minerals 8, 11, DOI: 10.3390/min8110505

Although biomineralization in plants is an important area of research, there is very limited information. In this work, we report the location of Na, K, Ca, Mg and Fe biominerals in Sarcocornia pruinosa (Chenopodiacaeae), a halophyte species growing in the estuarine area of Rio Tinto, an extreme acidic environment. The estuarine soils of the Tinto basin are characterized by slightly acidic pH and high concentrations of ions. They are exposed to Atlantic Ocean tides that contribute to the increase in pH, Na and Mg concentrations. The aim of this work was to characterize the elemental composition and to identify the biominerals detected in cell tissues of S. pruinosa. Analytical techniques, such as ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry), XRD and microscopy such as OM (optical microscopy) with histochemical staining, SEM and TEM (scanning and transmission electronic microscopy) coupled with EDX (energy dispersive X-ray) were carried out to analyze the plant tissues of S. pruinosa and characterize the detected biominerals. The elemental composition in succulent stems and seeds of S. pruinosa showed high values of Na and K followed by Ca, Mg and Fe. The presence of halite, sylvite, weddellite, glushinskite and Fe oxides biominerals in this halophyte species is reported. Our data suggest the importance of vegetation in the biogeochemical cycles in estuarine areas.

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