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Phytoavailability, bioaccumulation, and human health risks of metal(loid) elements in an agroecosystem near a lead-zinc mine

Abstract

Soil near a Pb-Zn-Mn mine was polluted by mining, which may have an impact on human health via the food chain. To evaluate the pollution effects, arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) in vegetables were determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission and mass spectrometry. Lead species were analyzed by X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES). Phytoavailability of the elements was evaluated by bioaccumulation of the elements, the sequential extraction procedure, Pb species, and plant uptakes. The target health quotient (THQ) was calculated to evaluate the human health risks. It was found that (1) high concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, and Pb were detectable in vegetables, and bioaccumulation was in the order of Mn > Zn > Cr > Pb > Cu > As > Cd; (2) phytoavailability of the elements was controlled mainly by the soluble fraction, and a linear relationship observed between the soluble fraction and bioaccumulation; (3) a new Pb-fulvic acid complex (Pb-FA) was identified by XANES in rhizosphere soil, and high content of Pb organic matter (60%) and soluble Pb (18%) were found; (4) both Cd and Zn accumulated in both of the Amaranthaceae and the Apiaceae families, indicating that the plants in the same family have the same bioaccumulation trend for the elements in the same group; (5) agricultural activities and plant growing increased phytoavailability of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn by decreasing the residual and raising the soluble and extractable fractions; (6) arsenic is top of the high health risks, followed by Pb, Cd, and Mn. Coriander, celery, and spinach were the top three highest health risks in the area.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dr. Lesley Egden for her checks and suggestions on the manuscript. The Pb species analyses were conducted in Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (14U and 15W stations, SSRF) and Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility (BSRF).

Funding

This work was supported by the National Key Technologies R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0600603), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 20775018 & 41201527), the National High Tech R&D Program (Grant No. 2007AA06Z124), and the China Geological Survey (Grant No. DD20160340).

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Correspondence to Liqiang Luo.

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Highlights

• The bioaccumulation of the elements by plants was proportional to the relative soluble and the reducible fractions, and inversely to the oxidizable fraction.

• Dressing procedures changed Pb species and resulted in a higher extractable fraction and may bring more soluble Pb into ecosystems.

• Plants in the same family have the same bioaccumulation trend for elements in the same group.

• Agricultural activities and plant growing increased phytoavailability of metal and metalloid elements by raising the soluble and extractable fractions.

• The rhizosphere soil increased the phytoavailability of Pb by providing Pb-FA complex and soluble Pb, and conduced to Pb uptake by plants.

Responsible editor: Elena Maestri

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Luo, L., Shen, Y., Wang, X. et al. Phytoavailability, bioaccumulation, and human health risks of metal(loid) elements in an agroecosystem near a lead-zinc mine. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 24111–24124 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2482-4

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Keywords

  • Phytoavailability
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Pb species
  • X-ray absorption near-edge structure
  • Vegetable
  • Soils
  • Health risks