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2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Jordan, Jordan
Surficial soil enriched with U-rich encrustations and green Cr-rich smectite covers large areas of Siwaqa, Central Jordan. The wide distribution of redox-sensitive elements (RSE) as chromium (Cr), vanadium (V) and uranium (U) in the top soil are related to the weathering action of alkaline surface and groundwater on the parent rocks. The bioavailability, distribution, sorption, and ecotoxicity of Cr, V, and U of the wild plants and top soils in the study area were investigated. A total number of 23 surface soil samples and 23 plant samples were collected and analyzed for the most toxic elements (Cr, V and U) by using Induced Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP- MS). The average Cr, V and U values in the soil was 59, 6.6 and 67 mg/kg respectively. The transfer factors (TFs) of these elements have indicated that the highest Cr and V values (0.6 and 0.26 respectively) were in the wild plants and particularly in Bellevalia sp. The highest TF for U (0.25) was recorded in Onopordum transjordanicum. The uptake of elements by plants was dependent on the plant species and the concentration of elements in the soil. Differences between TFs values of these elements in the various plant species are related to the different characteristics of the plants. The comparative uptake of the studied RSE was affected by the numerous physical, chemical and biological conditions of the soil. The results of this work provide a valuable knowledge for understanding the bioavailability of some toxic elements in the soil and plants of Central Jordan. The results are expected to be of great help for the Jordanian Uranium Mining Company during their environmental risk assessments.