Environmental Geology

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 731–739 | Cite as

Assessment of heavy metal accumulation in macrophyte, agricultural soil, and crop plants adjacent to discharge zone of sponge iron factory

  • S. GuptaEmail author
  • S. Nayek
  • R. N. Saha
  • S. Satpati
Original Article


The present study deals with the characterization of effluent released from sponge iron industries and distribution of heavy metals in soil and macrophytes near to effluent discharge channel. Apart from this, accumulation of heavy metals in nearby soil and vegetation system irrigated with effluent-contaminated water is also the subject of this study. Physico-chemical analysis of effluent reveals that the concentration of total suspended solids (TSS), total hardness (TH), iron (Fe2+), and oil and grease are greater than the IS (1981) norms for discharge of water into inland water body. The soil along the sides of the effluent channel also shows higher concentration of heavy metals than the background soil. The enrichment of the heavy metals are in the order of Chromium (Cr) > Iron (Fe) > Manganese (Mn) > Zinc (Zn) > Copper (Cu) > Cadmium (Cd). Macrophytes growing along the sides of the effluent channel also show significant accumulation of heavy metals almost in the same order as accumulated in soil. Higher uptake of heavy metals by these varieties reveals that these species can be used for future phytoremediation. The effluent as well as contaminated water is extensively used for irrigation for growing vegetables like tomato (Lycopersicon esculatum) in the surrounding areas. Heavy metal accumulation in this agricultural soil are in the sequence of Cr > Fe > Mn > Zn > Cu > Cd. More or less similar type of accumulation pattern are also found in tomato plants except Fe and Zn exceeding Cr and Mn. Transfer Factor of heavy metals from soil to tomato plants (TFS) shows average value of <1, suggesting less uptake of heavy metals from soil. Among the plant parts studied, fruit shows least accumulation. Although tomato plants show some phenotypic changes, the survival of tomato plants as well as least accumulation of metals in fruit reveals their tolerance to heavy metals. Therefore it may be suggested that this plant can be grown successfully in the heavy metal contaminated soil. Further research work on in situ toxicity test will be necessary in order to identify the most resistive variety on this particular type of contaminated site.


Sponge iron effluent Heavy metals Macrophytes Tomato plants Mangalpur West Bengal India 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Prof J. K. Datta and Dr A. R. Ghosh, of The Department of Environmental Science, The University of Burdwan, for their crucial evaluation and suggestions, which greatly helped to improve the manuscript. Sincere thanks and appreciation are also due to all the editors and reviewers of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceThe University of BurdwanBurdwanIndia

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