Merck

Cadmium accumulation in leaves of leafy vegetables.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety (2015-05-26)
Daniela Baldantoni, Luigi Morra, Massimo Zaccardelli, Anna Alfani
RESUMEN

Leafy vegetables have a relatively high potential for Cd uptake and translocation, and are thus considered Cd accumulators. For this reason, leaves and roots of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and endive (Cichorium endivia L.) plants, grown on different agricultural soils in Campania region (southern Italy), subjected to different fertilisation treatments (unfertilisation, compost amendment and mineral fertilisation), were analysed for Cd concentrations. Moreover, to clarify if the highest concentrations found are linked to older and inedible or to younger and edible leaves, external and internal endive leaves were separately analysed. All the leafy vegetables analysed showed on average 2-fold higher Cd concentrations in leaves than in roots. Leaf Cd concentrations in both lettuce and endive plants significantly differed among fertilisation treatments, with values highest in the plants grown on mineral fertilised soils. Apart from the soil fertilisation treatments, however, Cd leaf concentrations were often higher (up to 4-fold) than the threshold deduced by the EU 420/2011 Regulation, although the plants grew on unpolluted soils. Anyway, external leaves of endive plants showed significantly higher concentrations than internal leaves (in some cases the values were 3-fold higher), partly reassuring on the consumption of the younger leaves. Moreover, this study points out two major drawbacks in the Italian and European regulatory frameworks: (1) metal concentration (as total and/or available fraction) limits in agricultural soils are lacking; (2) metal concentration thresholds (currently existing only for Cd and Pb in crops) reported in the EU 420/2011 Regulation, expressed on the fresh weight basis rather than on the dry weight basis, appear not suitable.

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