Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 139, Issue 1–3, pp 77–91 | Cite as

Element contents and food safety of water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.) cultivated with wastewater in Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Helle Marcussen
  • Karin Joergensen
  • Peter E. Holm
  • Daniela Brocca
  • Robert W. Simmons
  • Anders Dalsgaard


Extensive aquatic or semi-aquatic production of water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.) for human consumption takes place in Southeast Asia. The aim of this study was to assess the concentrations of 38 elements in soil and water spinach cultivated under different degrees of wastewater exposure in Hanoi, Vietnam. The results showed no effect of wastewater use on the overall element concentrations in soil and water spinach. Mean soil concentrations for selected potentially toxic elements at the studied field sites had the following ranges 9.11–18.7 As, 0.333–0.667 Cd, 10.8–14.5 Co, 68–122 Cr, 34.0–62.1 Cu, 29.9–52.8 Ni, 32.5–67.4 Pb, 0.578–0.765 Tl and 99–189 Zn mg kg−1 dry weight (d.w.). In all samples Cd, Pb and Zn soil concentrations were below the Vietnamese Guideline Values (TCVN 7209-2002) for agricultural soils whereas As and Cu exceeded the guideline values. Maximum site element concentrations in water spinach were 0.139 As, 0.032 Cd, 0.135 Cr, 2.01 Cu, 39.1 Fe, 57.3 Mn, 0.16 Ni, 0.189 Pb and 6.01 Zn mg kg−1 fresh weight (f.w.). The site and soil content of organic carbon were found to have high influence on the water spinach element concentrations whereas soil pH and the total soil element concentrations were of less importance. The estimated average daily intake of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn for adult Vietnamese consumers amounts to <11% of the maximum tolerable intake proposed by FAO/WHO for each element. It is assessed that the occurrence of the investigated elements in water spinach will pose low health risk for the consumers.


Food safety Hanoi Multi element Soil Toxic metals Vietnam Wastewater Water spinach 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anh, M. T. P., Ali, M., Anh, H. L., & Ha, T. T. T. (2004). Urban and peri-urban agriculture in Hanoi: opportunities and constraints for safe and sustainable food production, technical bulletin, no.32. AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Shanhua, Taiwan: ARDC Publication 04-601.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, M., Tran, H. C., Nguyen, T. C., Pham, H. V., Schertenlieb, R., & Giger, W. (2001). Arsenic contamination of groundwater and drinking water in Vietnam. Environmental Science & Technology, 53(13), 2621–2626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berglund, M., Akesson, A., Nermell, B., & Vahter, M. (1994). Intestinal absorption of dietary cadmium in women depends on body iron stores and fiber intake. Environmental Health Perspectives, 102, 1058–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brzóska, M. M., & Moniuszko-Jakoniuk, J. (1998). The influence of calcium content in diet on the accumulation and toxicology of cadmium in the organism. Archives of Toxicology, 72, 63–73.Google Scholar
  5. Chaney, R. L., Ryan, J. A., Li, Y. M., Welch, R. M., Reeves, P. G., Brown, S. L., et al. (1996). Phyto-availability and bio-availability in risk assessment for cadmium in agricultural environments. In Proceedings of OECD Cadmium Workshop, Sources of Cadmium in the Environment, 1995, OECD (pp. 49–78). Paris, France.Google Scholar
  6. Deng, H., Ye, Z. H., & Wong, M. H. (2004). Accumulation of lead, zinc, copper and cadmium by 12 wetland plant species thriving in metal-contaminated sites in China. Environmental Pollution, 132, 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DONREH (2006). Current state of Hanoi’s environment from 1995 up to now. Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Housing (DONREH), Peoples Committee of Hanoi (in Vietnamese).Google Scholar
  8. DOSTE 2003. General planning of environment in Hanoi in the period 2001-2010, Vol.1.The real environmental situation of Hanoi. Department of Science, Technology and Environment (DOSTE), Peoples Committee of Hanoi (in Vietnamese).Google Scholar
  9. Duc, B. M., Humphries, D., Mai, L. T. B., Dao, H. A., Co, T. M., Nga, H., et al. (1999). Iron and vitamin content of commonly consumed foods in Vietnam. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 8(1), 36–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. EEC (1986). Council directive of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture. 86/278/EEC.Google Scholar
  11. FAO (2003). Vietnam food balance sheet.
  12. FAO/WHO (2003). Joint FAO/WHO food standards programme, Codex committee on food additives and contaminants. Thirty-sixth session, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 22–26 March 2004.Google Scholar
  13. Figuié, M. (2003). Vegetable consumption behaviour in Vietnam, Hanoi. CIRAD/Malica,
  14. Flanagan, P. R., McLellan, J. S., Haist, J., Cherian, G., Chamberlain, M. J., & Valberg, L. S. (1978). Increased dietary cadmium absorption in mice and human subjects with iron deficiency. Gastroenterology, 74, 841–846.Google Scholar
  15. Fox, M. R. S., Jacobs, R. M., Jones, A. O. L., & Fry, B. E. Jr. (1979). Effects of nutritional factors on metabolism of dietary cadmium at levels similar to those of man. Environmental Health Perspectives, 28, 107–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Göthberg, A., Greger, M., & Bengtsson, B. (2002). Accumulation of heavy metals in water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) cultivated in the Bangkok region, Thailand. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 21, 1939–1943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Göthberg, A., Greger, M., Holm, K., & Bengtsson, B. (2004). Influence of nutrient levels on uptake and effects of mercury, cadmium, and lead in water spinach. Journal of Environmental Quality, 33, 1247–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greger, M. (1999). Metal availability and bioconcentrations in plants. In M. N. V. Prasad, & J. Hagemayer (Eds.), Heavy metal stress in plants. From molecules to ecosystems (pp. 1–27). Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  19. Grössmann, G. (1984). Thalium – a new environmental problem? Angewandte Botanik, 58, 3–10, (in German).Google Scholar
  20. Gy, P. (1999). Sampling for analytical purposes. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  21. Hallberg, L., Bjorn-Rasmussen, E., Rossander, L., & Suwanik, R. (1977). Iron absorption from Southeast Asian diets. II. Role of various factors that might explain low absorption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 30, 539–548.Google Scholar
  22. Holm, P. E., Rootzén, H., Borggaard, O. K., Møberg, J. P., & Christensen, T. H. (2003). Correlation of cadmium distribution coefficients to soil characteristics. Journal of Environmental Quality, 32, 138–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. HSO (2005). Hanoi statistical yearbook. Hanoi Statistical Office (HSO).Google Scholar
  24. Kabata-Pendias, A., & Pendias, H. (2001). Trace elements in soils and plants. London: CRC.Google Scholar
  25. Kazantzis, G. (2000). Thallium in the environment and health effects. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 22, 275–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Keane, V. P., De Klerk, N., Kring, T., Hammond, G., & Musk, A. W. (1997). Risk factors for the development of non-response to first-line treatment for tuberculosis in Southern Vietnam. International Journal of Epidemiology, 26(5), 1115–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Khoi, H. H. (2000). General nutrition survey – 2000. Ministry of Health, National Institute of Nutrition, Hanoi, Vietnam: Medical Publishing House.Google Scholar
  28. Kisku, G. C., Barman, S. C., & Bhargava, S. K. (2000). Contamination of soil and plants with potentially toxic elements irrigated with mixed industrial effluent and its impact of the environment. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 120, 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Koch, I., Wang, L., Ollson, C. A., Cullen, W. R., & Reimer, K. J. (2000). The predominance of inorganic arsenic species in plants from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Environmental Science and Technology, 34, 22–26.Google Scholar
  30. Koo, S. I., Fullmer, C. S., & Wasserman, R. H. (1978). Intestinal absorption and retention of 109Cd: Effects of cholecalciferol, calcium status and other variables. Journal of Nutrition, 108, 1812–1822.Google Scholar
  31. LaCoste, C., Robinson, B., & Brooks, R. (2001). Uptake of thallium by vegetables: it’s significance for human health, phytoremediation and phytomining. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 24(8), 1205–1215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McLaughlin, M. J., Tiller, K. G., Naidu, R., & Stevens, D. P. (1996). Review: The behaviour and environmental impact of contaminants in fertilizers. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 34, 1–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mehra, A., Rarago, M. E., & Banerjee, D. K. (2000). Study of Eichhornia crassipes growing in the overbank and floodplain soils of the river Yamuna in Delhi, India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 60, 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mermut, A. R., Jain, J. C., Kerrich, R., Kozak, L., & Jana, S. (1996). Trace element concentrations of selected soils and fertilizers in Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Environmental Quality, 25(4), 845–853.Google Scholar
  35. MSTE (2002). Vietnam standard TCVN 7209:2002. Soil quality. Vietnam: Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MSTE) (in Vietnamese).Google Scholar
  36. Nan, Z., & Cheng, G. (2001). Accumulation of Cd and Pb in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown in calcareous soil irrigated with wastewater. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 66, 748–754.Google Scholar
  37. NIN (2004). Hanoi annual report, 2004. Hanoi, Vietnam: Annual report, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) (in Vietnamese))Google Scholar
  38. Nriagu, J. O. (1998). Thallium in the environment. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Pedersen, B., & Eggum, B. O. (1983). The influence of milling on the nutritive value of flour from cereal grains: 4. Rice Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 33, 267–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Petersen, L., Minkkinen, P., & Esbensen, K. H. (2005). Representative sampling for reliable data analysis: theory of sampling. Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, 77(1–2), 261–277.Google Scholar
  41. Reeves, P. G., & Chaney, R. L. (2001). Mineral nutrient status of female rats affects the absorption and organ distribution of cadmium from sunflower kernels (Helianthus annuus L.). Environmental Research, 85, 215–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rubatzky, V. E., & Yamaguchi, M. (1997). World vegetables: Principles, production, and nutritive values (pp. 711–713). New York: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  43. Sauvé, S., Hendershot, W., & Allen, H. E. (2000). Solid-solution partitioning of metals in contaminated soils: Dependence on pH, total metal burden, and organic matter. Environmental Science and Technology, 34, 1125–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Swartjes, F. A. (1999). Risk-based assessment of soil and groundwater quality in the Netherlands: Standards and remediation urgency. Risk Analysis, 19, 1235–1249.Google Scholar
  45. Tyler, G., & Olsson, T. (2001). Concentrations of 60 elements in the soil solution as related to the soil acidity. European Journal of Soil Science, 52, 151–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. USEPA (1996). Microwave assisted acid digestion of siliceous and organically based matrices. EPA Method 3052, Revision 0.Google Scholar
  47. WHO (1997). Guidelines for predicting dietary intake of pesticide residues. Programme of Food Safety and Food Aid, doc WHO/FSF/FOS/97.7.Google Scholar
  48. Zarcinas, B. A., Ishak, C. H., McLaughlin, M. J., & Cozens, G. (2004a). Heavy metals in soils and crops in southeast Asia. 1. Peninsular Malaysia. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 26, 343–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zarcinas, B. A., Ishak, C. H., McLaughlin, M. J., & Cozens, G. (2004b). Heavy metals in soils and crops in Southeast Asia. 2. Thailand. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 26, 343–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhang, Z. W., Moon, C. S., Watanabe, T., Shimbo, S., & Ilkeba, M. (1997). Contents of pollutant and nutrient elements in rice and wheat grown on the neighbouring fields. Biological Trace Element Research, 58, 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helle Marcussen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karin Joergensen
    • 1
  • Peter E. Holm
    • 1
  • Daniela Brocca
    • 3
  • Robert W. Simmons
    • 4
  • Anders Dalsgaard
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Natural SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Food Chemistry, Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary ResearchMinistry of Family and Consumer AffairsSoeborgDenmark
  4. 4.International Water Management Institute (IWMI)South Asia Regional Office, c/o ICRISATPatencheruIndia

Personalised recommendations