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Determination of heavy metal accumulation in wastewater irrigated pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) by spectroscopic method


Heavy metal contamination in water, soil and crops has become an increasing health problem. The present study aimed to investigate potential health risks to public health by evaluating the mean metal concentrations in water, soil and Cucurbita maxima (pumpkin) samples collected from three different irrigation areas using canal water (CWI), groundwater (GWI) and municipal wastewater (MWI). Concentrations of copper (Cu), lead (Pb), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) in collected soil and vegetable samples were estimated through atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Molybdenum (Mo) level in the specimens was analysed by graphite furnace and the flow injection hydride generation AAS was employed for arsenic (As) and the fluorometric method was used for determination of selenium (Se) contents. The metal concentrations in pumpkin samples were ranged from 7.75 to 9.01, 2.82 to 4.03, 0.43 to 0.74, 34.41 to 41.60, 16.76 to 20.15, 29.87 to 34.15, 6.86 to 8.99, 5.99 to 7.86, 3.55 to 3.91 and 0.13 to 0.16 mg/kg for Mo, As, Se, Fe, Cu, Zn, Ni, Pb, Cd and Co, respectively. Likewise, the concentrations of Pb, Mo and Cd in the pumpkin at all irrigation sites were estimated to be above the respective maximum permissible levels. Arsenic, at the MWI site, posed the highest risk threat (HRI = 77. 34) for public health. The highest pollution load index (PLI) was estimated for Ni (4.21) at the GWI site indicating soil contamination. According to the findings of this study, the amount of potentially toxic metals in all sample waters, especially municipal wastewater, is at a level that may pose a risk to human health.

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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.


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Authors and Affiliations



SS and NM were responsible for conducting the experiments and the data analysis. IU, YD and ZIK were responsible for analyzing and interpreting the data and writing the manuscript. KA and ZIK supervised the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ilker Ugulu.

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Responsible Editor: Amjad Kallel

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Ugulu, I., Khan, Z.I., Sahira, S. et al. Determination of heavy metal accumulation in wastewater irrigated pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) by spectroscopic method. Arab J Geosci 15, 1238 (2022).

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  • Trace metals
  • Canal water
  • Wastewater
  • Health risk index