In the context of the possible effects on natural regeneration of wet and dry deposition of heavy metals (e.g., Pb, Cd and Cu), laboratory studies were carried out using 2-week-old seedlings of Fraxinus angustifolia, Pinus pinea and P. pinaster. Various concentrations of CuSO4 and CdSO4 were added to a nutrient solution for 4 weeks, and growth, biomass, and heavy metal content of roots, stems and foliage were measured. Heavy metal content of soils was measured in the field, in the vicinity of naturally regenerated seedlings of the same species growing in a forested area near Pisa, central Italy. Elongation growth, particularly that of roots, was more affected by heavy metals than biomass production. Both metals accumulated in roots, whereas translocation to foliage was very low. Copper was more toxic than cadmium, and, for the species tested, F. angustifolia was more sensitive than the two Pinus species
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