Heavy metal levels in vegetables in Turkey are within safe limits for Cu, Zn, Ni and exceeded for Cd and Pb

Demirezen D. , Aksoy A.

JOURNAL OF FOOD QUALITY, vol.29, no.3, pp.252-265, 2006 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1745-4557.2006.00072.x
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF FOOD QUALITY
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-265


Copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) contents of various vegetables (cucumber, tomato, green pepper, lettuce, parsley, onion, bean, eggplant, peppermint, pumpkin and okra) produced in Kayseri, Turkey and the soils in which they were grown were determined using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES). These plants are the basis of human nutrition in the study area. The results obtained from the urban area were higher than those of the rural area as a result of pollution. The order of the elements in various vegetables and their concentration ranges in mu g/g were Cu (22.19-76.5), Cd (0.24-0.97), Ni (0.44-13.45), Pb (3-10.7) and Zn (3.56-259.2). The concentrations of Cu, Zn and Ni in vegetables studied are within the recommended international standards. The results also show that onion (0.97 mu g/g) and peppermint (76.5 mu g/g) have the ability to accumulate more Cd and Cu than the other vegetables studied, respectively. Furthermore, there were statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) between the levels of Zn and Pb in all vegetables analyzed from urban and rural areas. Concentrations of metals analyzed in samples could be related to their concentration in the corresponding soils. Enhanced levels of metals observed in some vegetable species could be related to their concentration in the corresponding soils.