Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Detection of heavy metal contamination of plants in the floodplains of the River Elbe and Mulde


The ecosystem of the floodplain is  influenced significantly by the dynamics of the flood, the supply of  nutrients as well as natural disasters and the use of man. This particular show anthropogenically enriched heavy  metals, especially after the increase occurring extreme floods on the  Elbe, a very sensitive environmental issue. Besides the  effect on biological and ecological condition and the consequences of  use of agricultural land, there is a risk to human health through the  transfer through the food chain. It is increasingly occurring after the  extreme floods on the Elbe mobilized in the pollutants, and entered into  the alluvial soils, have a need for research.
The currently  used techniques for vegetation and land use restrictions to research on  heavy metal-contaminated soils are time consuming and especially  small-scale application. Remote sensing offers the possibility of a quick  and cost effective method for the determination of the areal strain, as  the soil contamination has an impact on the physiology of plants, and  these reactions can be detected by remote sensing data.


The aim of the  research is to assess the current load status of floodplain ecosystems  with spectrometric field and laboratory measurements. The ecotoxicological effects of the soils are derived  indirectly from the spectral characteristics of the floodplain  vegetation and  algorithms for the parameters of stress and  separation characteristics developed.

Data and Methods

The spectral curve of the vegetation is  normalized with different vegetation indices, methods for Red-Edge  Position and the functional analysis to investigate the  potential of methods for detection of heavy metal stress on the plants. A validation of  the resulting damage classification is done through analytical tests. With the  determination of chlorophyll content and plant parameters and heavy  metal content of soil quality indicators can be identified that are  necessary for sustainable use and protection of soils. There are also  several hyperspectral sensors from the basic measurements simulated. The portability  of the spectrometric measurements on the remote sensing data for  comprehensive analysis of contaminated floodplains is investigated. It will  determine whether remote sensing can be used for environmental issues  and thus a tool for the realization of a comprehensive protection of  biotic and abiotic nature.