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Zinc and cadmium in corn plants growing near electrical transmission towers

Abstract

Corn kernels and young corn plants (Zea mays) growing beneath and close to a 6-yr old galvanized steel tower supporting a 500-kV electrical transmission line had elevated concentrations of Zn due to corrosion of the protective Zn coating on the steel. Zinc corrodes preferentially from galvanized steel and as a result, protects the underlying metal from rusting (sacrificial protection). Corn plants growing beneath and close to towers absorb Zn from soil contaminated by runoff from the lattice towers and from falling water droplets. Corn seedlings (7-wk old) grown in highly contaminated soil (1425 ± 264 μ g−1) collected near a 30-yr old tower had much higher concentrations of Zn than did plants (8-wk old) growing near and under the 6-yr old tower. The concentrations of Zn found in plants were not high enough to be hazardous to domestic animals and contamination of soil was localised around the towers studied.

Cd does not appear to be accumulating in soils or plants near the towers.

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Jones, R., Prohaska, K.A. & Burgess, M.S.E. Zinc and cadmium in corn plants growing near electrical transmission towers. Water Air Soil Pollut 37, 355–363 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00192946

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Keywords

  • Zinc
  • Corn
  • Cadmium
  • Transmission Line
  • Water Droplet