Plant Metallomics – University of Copenhagen

Plant Metallomics

High-throughput elemental profiling of plant tissues and yeast

Plants contain >70 elements. We are developing tools for rapid and reliable analysis of their concentration in small quantities of plant tissue, e.g. grain components or material from Arabidopsis mutants.

Metal speciation in plants

Most elements in plants are bound to different organic compounds. These organic species are governing the mobility of essential nutrients and toxic elements in plants and their subsequent bio-availability in food and feed products. We use HPLC-ICP-MS for analysis of major binding forms of different metals in cereal grain as well as in root tissues. This is coupled with bioimaging of metal distribution by use of laser-ablation ICP-MS.

Quality and traceability of vegetable food products

Trace elements, bioactive secondary metabolites and vitamins are among the most important quality parameters in plants. Yet, very little information is available on their content, bioavailability and health effects in plant products. We study the impact of different agricultural management practises on the ability of cereal, vegetable and fruit crops to absorb trace elements from the soil. The variability and optimum levels of bioactive compounds such as molecular species of the elements iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), sulphur (S) and phytates are investigated and multivariate statistical methods used to reveal differences between farming systems (e.g. organic vs. conventional).


  • RootBarriers: Plant root diffusional barriers: Genesis and implications for nutrient efficiency and stress tolerance
  • ZN-PROTEINS: The role of endosperm proteins for Zn loading into the cereal grain
  • AuthenticFood: Fast methods for authentication of organic plant based foods
  • FoodIntegrity:  Assuring the integrity of the food chain
  • COM-ISO: Compound-specific isotope ratio analysis as a novel and powerful tool for authentication of plant products