Uptake and distribution of minerals and heavy metals in commonly grown leafy vegetable species irrigated with sewage water

Abstract

Heavy metal uptake and accumulation behavior in dietary vegetables irrigated with sewage waters is an important issue worldwide. The main objective of this study was to examine and compare the physiological and growth responses of leafy vegetables irrigated with sewage water. A pot experiment was conducted in a wire house with three leafy vegetables, coriander (Coriandrum sativum), mint (Mentha arvensis), and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum), grown under ambient conditions. Plants were irrigated with different concentrations, 0, 50 (T 1), and 100 % (T 2), of sewage water. After harvesting, morphological and physiological parameters of plants were measured. Heavy metal (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) concentrations in the sewage water were found much higher than safer limits. The results revealed that the highest plant biomass and lowest metal contents were observed in control treatments in all studied vegetables. The biomass of all the vegetables were negatively affected when irrigated with sewage water. In T 2, coriander accumulated maximum Cd (μg g−1 DW) in shoots (4.97) as compared to other vegetables. The maximum Pb and Cu concentrations were accumulated in mint roots (44 and 3.9, respectively) as compared to coriander and fenugreek. Zinc was accumulated in the sequence of leaves > roots > shoots under polluted water irrigation. The concentrations of potassium increased in leaves, shoots, and roots in all vegetables, while phosphorous concentrations varied with species and plant parts with increasing sewage water concentration. It was found that the leafy vegetables grown with sewage water irrigation may cause severe human health problems.

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Acknowledgments

We highly acknowledge the funds provided by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Government of Pakistan to conduct this research work.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Rizwan.

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Anwar, S., Nawaz, M.F., Gul, S. et al. Uptake and distribution of minerals and heavy metals in commonly grown leafy vegetable species irrigated with sewage water. Environ Monit Assess 188, 541 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-016-5560-4

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Keywords

  • Heavy metals
  • Growth
  • Vegetables
  • Phytoremediation