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Environ Geochem Health. 2009 Jun;31(3):379-90. doi: 10.1007/s10653-008-9177-6. Epub 2008 Jun 3.

Relationships between distributions of longevous population and trace elements in the agricultural ecosystem of Rugao County, Jiangsu, China.

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State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 721, Nanjing 210008, China.


Soil, plant, and water, as well as trace elements they contain, can influence human health through the food chain. A survey was conducted on distributions of trace elements in soils, plants, and drinking water in Rugao County, Jiangsu Province, China, an agricultural area with a high level of centenarians and nonagenarians. The ratio of people over 90 years old per 100,000 inhabitants (90-rate) based on village (about 4,000 residents in 4 km(2)) was correlated with trace elements in soil, drinking water, and rice by means of correlation analysis and/or principal component analysis. Although the average 90-rate in the whole area was as high as 277, the rates were not uniform across the entire region. The 90-rate in the area of loamy and strongly-developed Anthrosols and Cambosols was about 330, significantly higher than the 255 in the areas of sandy and strongly-developed Cambosols and of clayey and weakly-developed Cambosols. The concentrations of available Se, B, Ni, and Mo in soils of the area with the high 90-rate were markedly greater than those in the area with the low 90-rate. This was demonstrated by highly positive correlations between the 90-rate and available Se (r = 0.33), B (r = 0.21), Ni (r = 0.17) and Mo (r = 0.17) at the p < 0.01 level and high loadings of available Se (0.851), B (0.535), Ni (0.594) and Mo (0.394) in the longevous factor. Similar relationships between the available elements in soils and elements in water and rice were found. These results suggest that: (1) the available forms of elements in soil were more crucial to elemental bio-availability in the ecosystem and human health than total elements in soil; and (2) the element association above might have affected the 90-rate positively and could be an important environmental geochemical factor influencing the longevity of humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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