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2021 Speakers

Zvjezdana Stancic

Zvjezdana Stancic, Speaker at Plant Events
University of Zagreb, Croatia (Hrvatska)
Title : How much can some wild plant species accumulate chemical elements and why is this important to us?


During 2014, the wild plant species were collected along the railways in northwestern Croatia. In habitats with different management types (under more or less influence of railway traffic), the seven most common herbaceous species were selected: Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., Equisetum arvense L., Erigeron annuus (L.) Desf., Lepidium sp., Solidago gigantea Aiton, Taraxacum officinale agg. and Urtica dioica L. Total concentrations of 25 elements were determined in collected plants using a high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS). The results showed that most (19) elements in the highest total mass concentrations were assimilated by Ambrosia artemisiifolia (mg/kg dry weight, average values): Ag 0.036, Al 1099, As 0.96, Cd 0.30, Co 0.67, Cr 22.9, Cu 19.7, Fe 3680, Li 1.24, Mn 57.1, Ni 9.06, Pb 4.05, Sb 0.62, Sn 1.17, Sr 63.0, Ti 75.9, U 0.11, V 2.96, and Zn 108; followed by Equisetum arvense with the highest values for four elements: Bi 0.04, Cs 0.45, Mo 14.3, and Rb 48.6; Solidago gigantea for Tl 0.038, and Lepidium sp. for Ba 37.4. The obtained values indicate the possibility
of using ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) in the phytoremediation and/or phytomining of certain chemical elements, some of which are pollutants in the soil and can be extracted from the soil by plants. However, the problem is that ragweed is a foreign invasive species in Europe that has multiple negative effects: it suppresses indigenous flora, is a very aggressive weed on agricultural land, and has a very negative effect on human health because its pollen causes allergies. One possible solution is to sow and grow this annual species under strictly controlled conditions, by removing the adult plants before they start to
bloom and create pollen and later seeds.

Take Away Notes:
• There are many solutions to environmental problems in nature, we just need to find them
• Phytoremediation is a new and promising method for the removal of heavy metals from the top soil layer. The advantages
of the method: ecologically and environmentally acceptable, low costs and applicability over large areas. Disadvantages:
lengthy and not sufficiently investigated
• One of the aims of this research was to find among wild plant species those that have the ability to accumulate pollutants


From 1987 to 1992, I studied biology at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb and acquired the qualification of graduate engineer of biology, specializing in ecology. I defended my doctoral thesis in 2000. Now, I am employed at the Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering in VaraĹždin (2010-present). In 2017 I was elected to the academic title of associate professor. The topics of my scientific interest are: non-forest vegetation, vegetation ecology, vascular plants, invasive alien plant species, nature protection and phytoremediation. As author and co-author I have published about 40 scientific papers.

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