Previous studies have shown that tobacco plants are tolerant of perchlorate and will accumulate perchlorate in plant tissues. This research determined the uptake, translocation, and accumulation of perchlorate in tobacco plants. Three hydroponics growth studies were completed under greenhouse conditions. Depletion of perchlorate in the hydroponics nutrient solution and accumulation of perchlorate in plant tissues were determined at two-day intervals using ion chromatography. Perchlorate primarily accumulated in tobacco leaves, yielding a substantial storage capacity for perchlorate. Mass balance results show that perchlorate degradation was negligible in plants. Tobacco plants were shown to effectively accumulate perchlorate over a wide range of initial concentrations (10 ppb to 100 ppm) from the hydroponics solution. Results suggest that tobacco plants are potential plants for the phytoremediation of perchlorate. A mathematical model was developed to describe the distribution of perchlorate in tobacco plants under rapid growth conditions. The Plant Kinetic (PK) model defined a plant as a set of compartments, described by mass balance differential equations and plant-specific physiological parameters. Data obtained from a separate hydroponics growth study with multiple solution perchlorate concentrations were used to validate predicted root, stem, and leaf concentrations. There was good agreement between model predictions and measured concentrations in the plant. The model, once adequately validated, can be applied to other terrestrial plants and inorganic chemicals currently used for both phytoremediation and ecological risk assessment.
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