The Biogeochemistry of Tungsten (W) in the Plant-Soil Environment
In the past decades, increasing industrial and military use of Tungsten (W)-based products opened new pathways of W into natural systems and raise the need for a better understanding of the behaviour of W in the environment. Soils play a particularly important role in controlling the bioavilability of pollutants and their entry into the food web via plant uptake as they serve as filter and buffer systems. This project therefore aims at providing crucial information on W solubility, speciation and partitioning in soils governed by important soil chemical properties like pH. Considering the chemical similarity of W and Mo, an essential micronutrient involved in the plant N cycle, we will also explore W uptake and partitioning within the plant and the effect of elevated W concentrations on plant biomass production, N assimilation, symbiontic N2 fixation and on plant metabolic reactions.
By combining conventional techniques with novel methods and high-end analytical tools (NanoSIMS, LA-ICP-MS) this project will deliver completely new insights into the behaviour of W in natural systems and provide valuable information on W fluxes in the plant-soil environment.
Funded by the FWF - Austrian Science Fund, Project Nr P25942-N28.