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fluoride treatment

David R. Hershey dh321 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Tue Feb 17 22:37:47 EST 1998

On 16 Feb 1998, Amanda C Kessel wrote:

> I'm doing a research project on the effects of fluoride-treated water on
> plants.  Can anyone please suggest what kind of plants to use -- small 
> and cheap, that would work well for this experiment?  Also, what range of
> fluoride concentrations would be best to test?

Greenhouse growers often experience fluoride toxicity of monocots, like
many houseplants and Easter lilies because the fluoride is carried to the
leaf tips in the transpiration stream and concentrates there because the
veins converge. Check the horticultural literature, which is indexed by
Hort Abstracts or USDA's online Agricola database. A complicating factor
is that superphosphate fertilizer has a high F content and can cause
toxicity.  Growers avoid superphosphate and keep soil pH above 6 to avoid
toxicity. You could probably develop an excised leaf system using Easter
lilies or houseplants like spiderplants. Usually the 1 ppm (mg/liter) 
level recommended for drinking water is not harmful but 0.25 ppm may cause
injury in sensitive species. F water level would interact with
transpiration rates and low leaching which causes a F buildup in the soil.
Four ppm F in the vase water caused toxicity in cut flower roses. 

David R. Hershey

Snail mail: 6700 Belcrest Road #112, Hyattsville, MD 20782-1340

Adjunct Professor, Biology/Horticulture Dept.
Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD 20772-2199

Email: dh321 at pgstumail.pg.cc.md.us


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