Celery and parsley are recognized as medicinal herbs and nutraceutical vegetables due to their valuable pharmacological properties and numerous health benefits. However, in recent years, soil loadings with various PTEs have become a serious concern across the world, leading to plants pollution, which can consequently diminish their quality and safety for human consumption. Therefore, we attempted to quantify quality and safety of celery and parsley grown in Cd polluted soil. We examined the presence of PTEs: As, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Cu and Cd in soil and selected herbs, as well as their physiological responses to different Cd exposures (control–without Cd addition, 3 and 6 µg/g Cd of dry soil). Following elevation of Cd in plants, both species showed increasing trend of As, Pb and Cu in plants, which overcome safe limits, with exception for Cu. Further, celery showed strong phytoextraction ability (99.9 µg/g Cd of dry weight) with high potential to tolerate Cd due to the efficient antioxidative machinery. Besides that herbs pollution was evident on the basis of target hazard quotients (HQ), hazard index (HI) and cancerogenic risk (CR), revealing that chronic consumption of contaminated herbs can consequently endanger human health. HI was greater than 1, while CR exceeded safe limits in treated plants, with exception for As. In the point of view of toxicology and food safety, growing of medicinal plants should be strictly regulated and distinguished based on the purpose of growing, and further herbs usage.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abbott, J. (1999). Quality measurements of fruit and vegetables. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 15(3), 207–225.
Adimalla, N., Chen, J., & Qian, H. (2020). Spatial characteristics of heavy metal contamination and potential human health risk assessment of urban soils: A case study from an urban region of South India. Ecotoxicology and Environmenatal Safety, 194, 110406.
Aebi, H. (1984). Catalase in vitro. Methods in Enzymology, 105, 121–126.
ATSDR (2012). Agency for toxic substances and disease registry, Toxicological Profile for Cadmium, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp.asp?id=48&tid=15. Retrived July 12, 2020.
Bates, I. S., Waldrn, R. P., & Teare, I. D. (1973). Rapid determination of free proline for water stress. Plant and Soil, 39(1), 205–207.
Bibi, A., Farooq, U., Naz, S., Khan, A., Khan, K., Sarwar, K., et al. (2016). Phytoextraction of Hg by parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and its growth responses. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 18(4), 354–357.
Bradford, M. M. (1976). A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry, 72, 248–254.
Chen, F., Wang, Q., Meng, F., Chen, M., & Wang, B. (2020). Effects of long-term zinc smelting activities on the distribution and health risk of heavy metals in agricultural soils of Guizhou province China. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00716-x.
Codex Alimentarius Commission of FAO/WHO. (2001). Food additives and contaminants joint FAO/WHO food standards programme. ALINORM, 01(12A), 1–289.
Ćwieląg-Drabek, M., Piekut, A., Gut, K., & Grabowski, M. (2020). Risk of cadmium, lead and zinc exposure from consumption of vegetables produced in areas with mining and smelting past. Scientific Reports, 10, 3363.
Dogra, N., Sharma, M., Sharma, A., Keshavarzi, A., MinakshiBhardwaj, A. R., Thukral, A. K., & Kumar, V. (2020). Pollution assessment and spatial distribution of roadside agricultural soils: A case study from India. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 30(2), 146–159.
Eid, E. M., Alrumman, S. A., Galal, T. M., & El-Beban, A. F. (2019). Regression models for monitoring trace metal accumulations by Faba sativa Bernh, plants grown in soils amended with different rates of sewage sludge. Scientific Reports, 9, 5443.
Farzaei, M. H., Abbasabadi, Z., Ardekani, M. R. S., Rahimi, R., & Farzaei, F. (2013). Parsley: A review of ethnopharmacology phytochemistry and biological activities. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 33(6), 815–826.
Feng, W., Guo, Z., Xiao, X., Peng, C., Shi, L., Ran, L., & Xu, W. (2020). A dynamic model to evaluate the critical loads of heavy metals in agricultural soil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 197, 110607.
Filipiak-Szok, A., Kurzawa, M., & Szłyk, Е. (2015). Determination of toxic metals by ICP-MS in аsiatic and еuropean medicinal plants and dietary supplements. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 30, 54–58.
Gebeyehu, H. R., & Bayissa, L. D. (2020). Levels of heavy metals in soil and vegetables and associated health risks in Mojo area. Ethiopia. PLoS ONE, 15(1), e0227883.
Gerasimova, N. G., Pridvorova, S. M., & Ozeretskovskaza, O. I. (2005). Role of L-phenylalanine ammonia lyase in the induced resistance and susceptibility of potato plants. Prikladnaya Biokhimiya i Mikrobiologiya, 41(1), 117–120.
Gill, S. S., & Tuteja, N. (2010). Reactive oxygen species and antioxidant machinery in abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 48, 909–930.
Golubkina, N. A., Kharchenko, V. A., Moldovan, A. I., Koshevarov, A. A., Zamana, S., Nadezhkin, S., et al. (2020). Yield, growth, quality, biochemical characteristics and elemental composition of plant parts of celery leafy, stalk and root types grown in the northern hemisphere. Plants, 9(4), 484.
Habig, W. H., Pabst, M. J., & Jakoby, W. B. (1974). Glutathione S-transferases. The first enzymatic step in mercapturic acid formation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 249, 7130–7139.
Han, L., Gao, X., Xia, T., Zhang, X., Li, X., & Gao, W. (2019). Effect of digestion on the phenolic content and antioxidant activity of celery leaf and the antioxidant mechanism via Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathways against dexamethasone. Journal of Food Biochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfbc.12875.
Harmanescu, M., Alda, L. A., Bordean, D. M., Gogoasa, I., & Gerge, I. (2011). Heavy metals health risk assessment for population via consumption of vegetables grown in old mining area; A case study: Banat County. Romania. Chemistry Central Journal, 5, 64.
Hu, W., Huang, B., Tian, K., Holm, P. E., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Heavy metals in intensive greenhouse vegetable production systems along Yellow Sea of China: Levels, transfer and health risk. Chemosphere, 167, 82–90.
Huang, Y., Chen, Q., Deng, M., Japenga, J., Li, T., Yang, X., & He, Z. (2018). Heavy metal pollution and health risk assessment of agricultural soils in a typical peri-urban area in southeast China. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 207, 159–168.
Huang, Y., He, C., Shen, C., Guo, J., Mubeen, S., Yuan, J., & Yang, Z. (2017). Toxicity of cadmium and its health risks from leafy vegetable consumption. Food and Function, 8(4), 1373–1401.
IARC (2020) International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) monography on the identification of cancerogenic hazards for humans. https://monographs.iarc.fr/agents-classified-by-the-iarc/ Retrived December 7, 2020.
Kapetanović, I. M., & Mieyal, I. I. (1979). Inhibition of acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity by phenacetin and its alkoxyanalogs. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 209, 25–30.
Karzan, A. M. H., Crout, N. M. J., Shaw, G., & Bailey, Е. H. (2020). Assessment of potentially toxic elements in vegetables cultivated in urban and peri-urban sites in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and implications for human health. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 42(5),1359–1385.
Kohzadi, S., Shahmoradi, B., Ghaderi, E., Loqmani, H., & Malek, A. (2019). Concentration, source, and potential human health risk of heavy metals in the commonly consumed medicinal plants. Biological Trace Element Research, 187, 41–50.
Kočevar Glavač, N., Djogo, S., Ražić, S., Kreft, S., & Veber, M. (2017). Accumulation of heavy metals from soil in medicinal plants. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, 68, 236–244.
Kumar, V., Pandita, S., Sharma, A., Bakshi, P., Sharma, P., Karaouzas, I., et al. (2019). Ecological and human health risks appraisal of metal (loid)s in agricultural soils a review. Geology, Ecology, and Landscapes. https://doi.org/10.1080/24749508.2019.1701310.
Lajayer, B. A., Ghorbanpour, M., & Nikabadi, S. (2017). Heavy metals in contaminated environment: Destiny of secondary metabolite biosynthesis, oxidative status and phytoextraction in medicinal plants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 145, 377–390.
Li, X., Li, Z., Lin, C. J., Bie, X., Liu, J., Feng, X., et al. (2018). Health risks of heavy metal exposure through vegetable consumption near a large-scale Pb/Zn smelter in central China. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 161, 99–110.
Liu, X., Song, Q., Tang, Y., Li, W., Xu, J., Wu, J., et al. (2013). Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil–vegetable system: A multi-medium analysis. Science of the Total Environment, 463–464, 530–540.
Maleki, M., Ghorbanpour, M., & Kariman, K. (2017). Physiological and antioxidative responses of medicinal plants exposed to heavy metals stress. Plant Gene, 11, 247–254.
Martirosya, M. D., Singharaj, B. (2016). Health claims and functional food: The future of functional foods under FDA and EFSA regulation. Functional foods for chronic diseases. First ed. pp. 410–424. Dalas, Texas, USA. Food Science Publisher.
Michalak, A. (2006). Phenolic compounds and their antioxidant activity in plants growing under heavy metal stress. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 15(4), 523–530.
Mihailović, A., Budinski-Petković, L., Popov, S., Ninkov, J., Vasin, J., Ralević, N. M., & Vučinić Vasić, M. (2015). Spatial distribution of metals in urban soil of Novi Sad, Serbia: GIS based approach. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 150, 104–114.
Mongkhonsin, B., Nakbanpote, W., Meesungnoen, O., Prasad, M. N. V. (2019). Adaptive and tolerance mechanisms in herbaceous plants exposed to cadmium in: Hasanuzzaman, M., Prasad, M. N. V., Fujita, M. (Eds.), Cadmium Toxicity and Tolerance in Plants: From Physiology to Remediation, (pp 73–109), USA, Academic press, Elsevier Inc.
Nagajyoti, P. C., Lee, K. D., & Sreekanth, T. V. M. (2010). Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 8, 199–216.
Nakano, Y., & Asada, K. (1981). Hydrogen peroxide is scavenged by ascorbate-specific peroxidase in spinach chloroplasts. Plant and Cell Physiology, 22, 867–880.
Nworie, E. O., Qin, J., & Lin, C. (2019). Trace element uptake by herbaceous plants from the soils at a multiple trace element-contaminated site. Toxins., 7(1), 3.
Official Gazette of Republic of Serbia (2010/11): Regulations for pesticides, metals and metalloids and other toxic substances, chemotherapeutics, anabolic steroids and other substances which can be found in food. Službeni glasnik RS 25/2010 i 28/2011–dr. pravilnik.
Pajević, S., Arsenov, D., Nikolić, N., Borisev, M., Orčić, D., Župunski, M., & Mimica-Dukic, N. (2018). Heavy metal accumulation in vegetable species and health risk assessment in Serbia. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190, 459.
Piekut, A., Baranowska, R., Marchwińska-Wyrwał, E., Ćwieląg-Drabek, M., Hajok, I., Dziubanek, G., & Grochowska-Niedworok, E. (2018). Is the soil quality monitoring an effective tool in consumers’ protection of agricultural crops from cadmium soil contamination?—A case of the Silesia region (Poland). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190, 25.
Qin, S. Y., Liu, H. E., Nie, Z. J., Rengel, Z., Gao, W., Li, C., & Zhao, P. (2020). Toxicity of cadmium and its competition with mineral nutrients for uptake by plants: A review. Pedosphere, 30(2), 168–180.
Ramachandra, T. V., Sudarshan, P. B., Mahesh, M. K., & Vinay, S. (2018). Spatial patterns of heavy metal accumulation in sediments and macrophytes of Bellandur wetland, Bangalore. Journal of Environmental Management, 206, 1204–1210.
RStudio Team (2020). RStudio 4.0.0. Integrated Development for R. RStudio, PBC, Boston, MA URL http://www.rstudio.com/.
Rizwan, M., Ali S., Zia ur Rehman, M., & Maqbool, Z. A. (2019). A critical review on the effects of zinc at toxic levels of cadmium in plants. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26, 6279–6289.
Sarwar, T., Shahid, M., NatashaKhalid, K. S., Shah, A. H., Ahmad, N., Haq, Z. A., et al. (2019). Quantification and risk assessment of heavy metal build-up in soil–plant system after irrigation with untreated city wastewater in Vehari. Pakistan: Environmental Geochemistry and Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-019-00358-8.
Sayed-Ahmad, B., Talou, T., Saad, Z., Hijazi, A., & Merah, O. (2017). The apiaceae: Ethnomedicinal family as source for industrial uses. Industrial Crops and Products, 109, 661–671.
Sharma, S., Nagpal, A. K., & Kaur, I. (2018). Heavy metal contamination in soil, food crops and associated health risks for residents of Ropar wetland, Punjab, India and its environs. Food Chemistry, 255, 15–22.
Simon, L. M., Fatrai, Z., Jonas, D. E., & Matkovic, B. (1974). Study of metabolism enzymes during the development of Phaseolus vulgaris. Biochemie und Physiologie der Pflanzen, 166, 387–392.
Sun, X., & ZhangJ, L. L. (2020). Spatial assessment models to evaluate human health risk associated to soil potentially toxic elements. Environmental Pollution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115699.
Škrbić, B., & Čupić, S. (2004). Trace metal distribution in surface soils of Novi Sad and bank sediment of the Danube river. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering, 39(6), 1547–1558.
Tian, S., Xie, R., Wang, H., Hu, Y., Hou, D., Liao, X., et al. (2017). Uptake, sequestration and tolerance of cadmium at cellular levels in the hyperaccumulator plant species Sedum alfredii. Journal of Experimental Botany, 68(9), 2387–2398.
Tóth, G., Hermann, T., Da Silva, M. R., & Montanarella, L. (2016). Heavy metals in agricultural soils of the European Union with implications for food safety. Environment International, 88, 299–309.
U.S. EPA (2002). Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, (OSWER 9355.4–24).
US EPA (2011a). Exposure Factors Handbook 2011 Edition (Final Report). US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-09/052F.
US Epa (2011). Screening level (RSL) for chemical contaminant at superfound sites. US: Environmental Protection Agency.
Ubavić, M. & Bogdanović, D. (2006). Praktikum iz Agrohemije. Poljoprivredni fakultet, Novi Sad, str. 34–63.
Ulusu, Y., Öztürk, L., & Elmastaş, M. (2017). Antioxidant capacity and cadmium accumulation in parsley seedlings exposed to cadmium stress. Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 64(6), 883–888.
Verbruggen, N., Hermans, C., & Schat, H. (2009). Mechanisms to cope with arsenic or cadmium excess in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 12(3), 364–372.
Viuda-Martos, M., Ruiz-Navajas, Y., Fernández-López, J., & Pérez-Alvarez, J. A. (2011). Spices as functional foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 51(1), 13–28.
VROM. (2000). Circular on target values and intervention values for soil remediation Annex A: Target values, soil remediation intervention values and indicative levels for serious contamination. Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM): Dutch Ministry of Housing.
Wang, C., Zhao, Y., & Pei, Y. (2012). Investigation on reusing water treatment residuals to remedy soil contaminated with multiple metals in Baiyin, China. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 237–238, 240–246.
WHO. (2007). Guidelines for assessing quality of herbal medicines with reference to contaminants and residues (pp. 1–118). Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press.
Ye, X., Xiao, W., Zhang, Y., Zhao, S., Wang, G., Zhang, Q., & Wang, Q. (2015). Assessment of heavy metal pollution in vegetables and relationships with soil heavy metal distribution in Zhejiang province. China. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187, 378.
Yuswir, N. S., Praveena, S. M., Aris, A. Z., Ismail, S. N. S., de Burbure, C., & Hashim, Z. (2015). Heavy metal contamination in urban surface soil of Klang District (Malaysia). Soil and Sediment Contamination, 24(8), 865–881.
Zeng, F., Li, W. W. M., Huang, R., Yang, F., & Duan, Y. (2015). Heavy metal contamination in rice-producing soils of Hunan Province, China and potential health risks. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 15584–15593.
Research was conducted and funded within the project entitled: “Biologically active components and medical potential of functional food grown in Vojvodina Province, Serbia’’ no. 114-451-2149/2016-03, financed by the Provincial Secretariat for Science and Technological Development, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The authors also acknowledge financial support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Grant No. 451-03-68/2020-14/ 200125).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Arsenov, D., Župunski, M., Pajević, S. et al. Health assessment of medicinal herbs, celery and parsley related to cadmium soil pollution-potentially toxic elements (PTEs) accumulation, tolerance capacity and antioxidative response. Environ Geochem Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00805-x
- Soil contamination
- Vegetables pollution
- Phytoextraction potential
- Plants defense mechanisms
- Human health risk