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Environmental monitoring and assessment

Contamination of apple orchard soils and fruit trees with copper-based fungicides: sampling aspects.


PMID 25407992

Abstract

Accumulations of copper in orchard soils and fruit trees due to the application of Cu-based fungicides have become research hotspots. However, information about the sampling strategies, which can affect the accuracy of the following research results, is lacking. This study aimed to determine some sampling considerations when Cu accumulations in the soils and fruit trees of apple orchards are studied. The study was conducted in three apple orchards from different sites. Each orchard included two different histories of Cu-based fungicides usage, varying from 3 to 28 years. Soil samples were collected from different locations varying with the distances from tree trunk to the canopy drip line. Fruits and leaves from the middle heights of tree canopy at two locations (outer canopy and inner canopy) were collected. The variation in total soil Cu concentrations between orchards was much greater than the variation within orchards. Total soil Cu concentrations had a tendency to increase with the increasing history of Cu-based fungicides usage. Moreover, total soil Cu concentrations had the lowest values at the canopy drip line, while the highest values were found at the half distances between the trunk and the canopy drip line. Additionally, Cu concentrations of leaves and fruits from the outer parts of the canopy were significantly higher than from the inner parts. Depending on the findings of this study, not only the between-orchard variation but also the within-orchard variation should be taken into consideration when conducting future soil and tree samplings in apple orchards.

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