Uptake and accumulation of selenium by terrestrial plants growing on a coal fly ash landfill. Part I: Corn

Mary A. Arthur, Gail Rubin, Robert E. Schneider, Leonard H. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to examine the suitability of growing corn (Zea mays L.) on a closed coal fly ash landfill. Previous work indicated that selenium (Se) was the potentially toxic element most likely to be taken up by plants grown on these landfills. This experiment tested differences in Se concentration in three cultivars of corn — Agway 135 (Agway, Inc., Syracuse, NY), Halsey 2273 (Halsey Farms, Ithaca, NY), and Golden Cross Bantam (Agway, Inc., Syracuse, NY) — and two cultivation techniques — no‐till and conventional. Selenium concentrations in corn grown on the landfill were consistently higher than those in corn grown on nonlandfill sites. There were no significant differences among two field corn cultivars and one sweet corn cultivar in Se concentrations in vegetative tissues harvested in August 1989. However, there were significant differences between the two field corn cultivars in the Se concentrations of leaves and kernels harvested in October 1989. Corn grown with no‐till agriculture had significantly higher concentrations of Se in leaves and kernels never attained toxic levels, indicating that corn grown on fly ash landfills may be safe for human or livestock consumption. However, large variability among varieties and tissues suggests that the use of fly ash landfills for growing agricultural crops should be undertaken only after extensive field trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-547
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Fly ash
  • No‐till cultivation
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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