Soil pollution in agricultural lands poses a serious threat to food safety, and suggests the need for consolidated methods providing advisory indications for soil management and crop production. In this work, the three-step extraction procedure developed by the EU Measurement and Testing Programme and two soil-to-plant transfer factors (relative to total and bioavailable concentration of elements in soil) were applied on polluted agricultural soils from southern Italy to obtain information on the retention mechanisms of metals in soils and on their level of translocation to edible vegetables. The study was carried out in the Sarno river plain of Campania, an area affected by severe environmental degradation potentially impacting the health of those consuming locally produced vegetables. Soil samples were collected in 36 locations along the two main rivers flowing into the plain. In 11 sites, lettuce plants were collected at the normal stage of consumption. According to Italian environmental law governing residential soils, and on the basis of soil background reference values for the study area, we found diffuse pollution by Be, Sn and Tl, of geogenic origin, Cr and Cu from anthropogenic sources such as tanneries and intensive agriculture, and more limited pollution by Pb, Zn and V. It was found that metals polluting soils as a result of human activitieswere mainly associated to residual, oxidizable and reducible phases, relatively immobile and only potentially bioavailable to plants. By contrast, the essential elements Zn and Cu showed a tendency to become more readily mobile and bioavailable as their total content in soil increased and were more easily transported to the edible parts of lettuce than other pollutants. According to our results, current soil pollution in the studied area does not affect the proportion of metals taken up by lettuce plants and there is a limited health risk incurred.

Bioavailability and soil-to-plant transfer factors as indicators of potentially toxic elements contamination of agricultural soils

ADAMO, PAOLA;ALBANESE, STEFANO;AGRELLI, DIANA;DE VIVO, BENEDETTO;LIMA, ANNAMARIA
2014

Abstract

Soil pollution in agricultural lands poses a serious threat to food safety, and suggests the need for consolidated methods providing advisory indications for soil management and crop production. In this work, the three-step extraction procedure developed by the EU Measurement and Testing Programme and two soil-to-plant transfer factors (relative to total and bioavailable concentration of elements in soil) were applied on polluted agricultural soils from southern Italy to obtain information on the retention mechanisms of metals in soils and on their level of translocation to edible vegetables. The study was carried out in the Sarno river plain of Campania, an area affected by severe environmental degradation potentially impacting the health of those consuming locally produced vegetables. Soil samples were collected in 36 locations along the two main rivers flowing into the plain. In 11 sites, lettuce plants were collected at the normal stage of consumption. According to Italian environmental law governing residential soils, and on the basis of soil background reference values for the study area, we found diffuse pollution by Be, Sn and Tl, of geogenic origin, Cr and Cu from anthropogenic sources such as tanneries and intensive agriculture, and more limited pollution by Pb, Zn and V. It was found that metals polluting soils as a result of human activitieswere mainly associated to residual, oxidizable and reducible phases, relatively immobile and only potentially bioavailable to plants. By contrast, the essential elements Zn and Cu showed a tendency to become more readily mobile and bioavailable as their total content in soil increased and were more easily transported to the edible parts of lettuce than other pollutants. According to our results, current soil pollution in the studied area does not affect the proportion of metals taken up by lettuce plants and there is a limited health risk incurred.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/592455
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