Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 31, pp 31667–31674 | Cite as

Physiological response of spinach to toxic heavy metal stress

  • Muhammad Zubair
  • Qudrat Ullah Khan
  • Nosheen Mirza
  • Rizwana Sarwar
  • Asghar Ali Khan
  • Mohammad Safdar Baloch
  • Shah FahadEmail author
  • Adnan Noor ShahEmail author
Research Article


This study was carried out to investigate the concentration of two heavy metals, i.e., mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As) in soil and plant. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) was used as a test vegetable in a pot experiment. Five spiked concentrations of both the metals along with sewage water were used as treatments. The analyses of the metals were determined in two cuttings. The results showed significant effect of treatments on the concentration of the two metals in soil and plant. The concentrations of As recorded were higher in 1st spinach cutting and reduced in the second harvest. However, comparing the two metal concentrations, it was found that As was absorbed greater as compared with Hg. Analyzing the plant growth parameter, it was found that metal stress has significantly influenced the plant growth. In sewage water pots, As was significantly higher than Hg. The transfer factor from soil to plant showed higher As in plants at lower concentration, but at higher As levels, the transfer rate declined, while Hg showed it was completely inverse. Positive correlation was found between soil applied metal concentration and plant uptake. It may be concluded from the above results that spinach is a good accumulator of heavy metals and has shown significant result of both As and Hg accumulation in plant. The concentration increased with the increasing concentration in soil.


Arsenic Mercury Sewage water Spinach Uptake 



  1. Akhtar S, Shoaib A (2014) Toxic effect of arsenate on germination, early growth and bioaccumulation in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Pak J Agric Sci 51:389–394Google Scholar
  2. Allen SE, Grimshaw HM, Rowland AP (1986) In: Moore PD, Chapman SB (eds) Methods in plant ecology: chemical analysis. London Blackwell Scientific Publication, Oxford, pp 285–344Google Scholar
  3. Atta R, Tangfu X, Abida F, Muhammad S, Sajid M, Salar A, Fahad S, Wajid N (2016) Arsenic and heavy metal contaminations in the tube well water of Punjab, Pakistan and risk assessment: a case study. Ecol Eng 95:90–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aziz RA, Rahim SA, Sahid I, Idris WMR, Bhuiyan AR (2015) Determination of heavy metals uptake in soil and paddy plants. American-Eurasian J Agric Environ Sci 15(2):161–164Google Scholar
  5. Bai J, Cui B, Wang Q, Gao H, Ding Q (2008) Assessment of heavy metal contamination of roadside soils in Southeast China. Stoch Env Res Risk A 23:241–247Google Scholar
  6. Bhargava A (2016) Physico-chemical waste water treatment technologies: an overview. Int J Sci Res Educ 4(5):5308–5319Google Scholar
  7. Bibi Z, Khan ZI, Ahmad K, Ashraf M, Hussain, Akram NA (2014) Vegetables as a potential source of metals and metalloids for human nutrition: a case study of Momordica charantia grown in soil irrigated with domestic sewage water in Sargodha, Pakistan. Pak J Zoo 46:633–641Google Scholar
  8. Chang CY, Yu HY, Chen JJ, Li FB, Zhang HH, Liu CP (2014) Accumulation of heavy metals in leaf vegetables from agricultural soils and associated potential health risks in the Pearl River Delta, South China. Environ Monit Assess 186(3):1547–1560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cui YG, Zhu YG, Zhai RH, Chen DY, Huang YZ, Qui Y, Liang ZJ (2004) Transfer of metals from near a smelter in Nanning, China. Environ Int 30:785–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frescholtz T, Gustin M (2004) Soil and foliar mercury emission as a function of soil concentration. Water Air Soil Pollut 155:223–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hafiz FB, Najma B, Zahida Z, Sunaina A, Hafiz MH, Fahad S, Muhammad RA, Ghulam MS, Faiz R, Shafqat S (2018a) Silicon mitigates biotic stresses in crop plants: a review. Crop Prot 104:21–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hafiz MH, Farheen Z, Hafiz FB, Fahad S, Muhammad RA, Carol Jo W, Ghulam MS, Wajid N, Ikramulah K, Muhammad S (2018b) Uptake and toxicological effects of pharmaceutical active compounds on Maize. Agric Ecosyst Environ 258:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Han FX, Su Y, Monts DL, Waggoner AC, Plodinec JM (2006) Binding, distribution and plant uptake of mercury in a soil from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. Sci Total Environ 368:753–768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Huq ME, Fahad S, Zhenfeng S, Sarven MS, Asma A (2019) Al-H, Manzer HS, Muhammad H ur R, Imtiaz AK, Mukhtar A, Muhammad S, Abdur R, Abdul B, Yousaf J, Shahid UK (2019) High arsenic contamination and presence of other trace metals in drinking water of Kushtia district, Bangladesh. J Environ Manag 242:199–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hussain K, Sahadevan KK, Salim N (2010) Bio-accumulation and release of mercury in Vigna mungo (L.) hepper seedlings. J Stress Phys Biochem 6:56–63Google Scholar
  16. Itanna F (2002) Metals in leafy vegetables grown in Addis Ababa and toxicological implications. Ethiop J Heal Dev 6:295–302Google Scholar
  17. Kabata-Pendias A (2011) Trace elements in soils and plants. CRC Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mahmood S, Farzana K, Haq ZU, Ahmad S, Riaz F, Abaidullah (2007) Bio chemical response of Pisum sativum L. under Cadmium and Mercury Regimes. J Chem Soc Pak 29:379–382Google Scholar
  19. Mehmood A, Hayat R, Wasim M, Akhtar MS (2009) Mechanisms of arsenic adsorption in calcareous soils. J Agric Biol Sci 1:59–65Google Scholar
  20. Peralta-Videa JR, Lopez ML, Narayan M, Saupe G, Gardea-Torresdey J (2009) The biochemistry of environmental heavy metal uptake by plants: implications for the food chain. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 41:1665–1677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pilon-Smits E (2005) Phytoremediation. Annu Rev Plant Biol 56:15–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sathawara NG, Parikh DJ, Agarwal YK (2004) Essentail heavy metals in environmental samples from western India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 73:756–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schroeder JI, Delhaize E, Frommer WB, Guerinot ML, Harrison MJ, Herrera-Estrella L (2013) Using membrane transporters to improve crops for sustainable food production. Nature 497:60–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shad HA, Khan ZI, Ahmad K, Rizwan Y, Tahir HM (2014) Human health hazards caused by heavy metals accumulation in wheat Variety “Sehar-2006” irrigated with domestic sewage water. Biologia (Pakistan) 60:99–102Google Scholar
  25. Soltanpour PN (1985) Use of ammonium bicarbonate DTPA soil test to evaluate elemental availability and toxicity. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 16:323–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sönmez O, Turan V, Kaya C (2016) The effects of sulfur, cattle, and poultry manure addition on soil phosphorus. Turk J Agric For 40(4):536–541. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Steel RGD, Torrrie JH, Dickey D (1997) Principles and procedures of statistics. A biometrical approach, 3rd edn. McGraw Hill Book Co, New York, p 633Google Scholar
  28. Su Y, Han F, Shiyab S, Monts DL (2007) Phytoextraction and accumulation of mercury in selected plant species grown in soil contaminated with different mercury compounds. WM’07 Conference, February 25 - March 1, Tucson, AZGoogle Scholar
  29. Turan V, Ramzani PMA, Ali Q, Irum A, Khan W-U-D (2017) Alleviation of nickel toxicity and an improvement in zinc bioavailability in sunflower seed with chitosan and biochar application in pH adjusted nickel contaminated soil. Arch Agron Soil Sci 64(8):1053–1067. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Turan V, Khan SA, Mahmood-ur R, PMA R, Fatima M (2018) Promoting the productivity and quality of brinjal aligned with heavy metals immobilization in a wastewater irrigated heavy metal polluted soil with biochar and chitosan. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 161:409–419. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Waseem, Nadeem MA (2001) Enhancement of spinach production by varying sowing dates, row spacing and frequency of cuttings. J Biol Sci 10:902–904Google Scholar
  32. Zahida Z, Hafiz FB, Zulfiqar AS, Ghulam MS, Fahad S, Muhammad RA, Hafiz MH, Wajid N, Muhammad S (2017) Effect of water management and silicon on germination, growth, phosphorus and arsenic uptake in rice. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 144:11–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhao FJ, Wang JR, Barker JHA, Schat H, Bleeker PM, McGrath SP (2003) The role of phytochelatins in arsenic tolerance in the hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata. New Phytol 159:403–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Zubair
    • 1
  • Qudrat Ullah Khan
    • 1
  • Nosheen Mirza
    • 2
  • Rizwana Sarwar
    • 2
  • Asghar Ali Khan
    • 3
  • Mohammad Safdar Baloch
    • 3
  • Shah Fahad
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Adnan Noor Shah
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Soil and Environmental SciencesGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  2. 2.Environmental SciencesCIITAbbotabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  4. 4.Department of AgricultureUniversity of SwabiAmbarPakistan
  5. 5.College of Plant Sciences and TechnologyHuazhong Agriculture UniversityWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations