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Trace metal uptake by garden herbs and vegetables


In many regions of Iran, crops are irrigated with municipal and industrial wastewater that contain a variety of metals. The purpose of this study was to simulate the level of metals that may be presented to plants over a growing season in a controlled laboratory setting. Cadmium, lead, arsenic, chromium, mercury, nickel, copper, zinc, and selenium were applied to plants at the high rate of 200 g metal/ha/wk. The following plants were examined for metal accumulation and effects on yield: garden cress (Lipidium sativum), leek (Allium porrum L.), basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), mint (Mentha arvensis L.), onion (Allium capa L.), radish (Raphanus sativus L.), and tarragon (Artemisia draculus L.). All plants showed significant uptake of all metals when compared to control (p=0.05), and growth was significantly reduced (p=0.05). Cadmium and chromium levels of 85±7.4 and 47.6±8.9 μg/g); selenium levels were highest in tarragon (16.5±5.8 μg/g). Zinc levels were similar (p=0.05) in all species tested, as were mercury and lead. The remaining metals (nickel and copper) showed significant differences in uptake, depending on plant species.

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Correspondence to A. C. Anderson.

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Shariatpanahi, M., Anderson, A.C. & Mather, F. Trace metal uptake by garden herbs and vegetables. Biol Trace Elem Res 11, 177–183 (1986).

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Index Entries

  • Heavy metals
  • herbs
  • vegetables, trace metals, metal uptake
  • yield